Uganda Taxes Facebook and Whatsapp Users
Uganda’s parliament has passed a law to tax people who use Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter in an attempt to prevent gossip. The BBC reported that Uganda will impose a 200 shilling [$0.05] daily levy on people who use social media and messaging platforms.
Reuters reported in April that the tax will be charged to mobile phone subscribers who use the platforms.
“We’re looking for money to maintain the security of the country and extend electricity so that you people can enjoy more of social media, more often, more frequently,” stated the government.
Human rights activists have slammed the new law, arguing it will stifle freedom of expression and the use of the Internet.
They said it is an attempt by President Yoweri Museveni to prevent opposition to his presidency.
About 17 million people, or 41 percent of Uganda’s total population, use the internet, and there doesn’t seem to be a definitive plan on monitoring how and when social media sites are accessed.
According to the BBC, at least one ISP has doubts about the law’s enforcement. Uganda’s finance minister, Matia Kasaija, justified the law to Reuters in April, saying, ”We’re looking for money to maintain the security of the country and extend electricity so that you people can enjoy more social media, more often, more frequently.”