The reasons why Facebook remains shutdown in Uganda despite complaints

It is almost 2 months since the social media platform was shut down in Uganda starting on the eve of the general elections on January 13th 2021. Facebook remains shutdown in Uganda even as the rest of the internet was gradually restored including apps that belong to Facebook like WhatsApp.

Also read: Facebook officially blocked in Uganda because of ban on pro-government accounts.

The platform still requires a Virtual Private Connection in order to get access to it. Uganda has 18 million internet users currently with about 2.7 million Facebook subscribers however this does not undermine the effect it has had on several people especially business owners.

Government responds to why Facebook remains shutdown in Uganda

Many Ugandans do not understand why even after other apps were restored, Facebook remains shutdown in Uganda. Speaking on NBS’ Spotlight show on Monday 8th March 2021, the question was addressed by some of the people in attendance like UCC Executive Director Irene Ssewankambo and Permanent Secretary for Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Vincent Bagiire.

Vincent Bagiire, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of ICT explained that there have been a number of complaints about the operations of the popular social media platform and UCC wrote to Facebook on that basis with complaints not only from the government but the public as well.

“The challenge is it is a rigorous process to get a response from some of these big tech companies and they should know that they can’t operate in a country without paying attention to national laws,” he explained further.

Read also: Pro-NRM Facebook accounts have been blocked for using hate speech.

The Permanent secretary however encouraged innovators in the country to develop a similar platform that is Ugandan-based as a way of promoting local content other than international platforms.

Uganda Communications Commission E.D, Irene Ssewankambo also expounded on the matter and said, “Government engaged to improve the working of Facebook in the country and is trying to improve its operations” as an explanation for why the app remains shutdown.

For a number of businesses that relied on the platform to promote their products and services through ads, the wait as Facebook remains shutdown in Uganda for it to be restored is long and painful as there is no conclusive response as to when things will return to normal.

You cannot run ads through Facebook in countries in which it’s banned therefore if your target audience is Uganda, you are at a loss at the moment. According to its policies, you cannot target such countries specifically for ads nor do they allow you to claim you are from those countries with the intent to run ads.

Despite several complaints, Facebook remains shutdown in Uganda which could push many into seeking alternatives like more traditional methods of advertising.

Read more: Why absurd Ott tax should be scrapped completely.

Read more: Facebook to protect journalists with new safety features.

READ: How to stop using background mobile data on Android.

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