A new law in Uganda requires citizens to pay the government $0.05 for one-day access to Facebook, Tinder, Twitter, Whatsapp and Grindr.
The government hopes the tax will raise revenue and silence “gossip.” Ugandans are already calling for an end to the policy.
The new social media tax is the first of its kind in the world. However, it is not the first time that the country has tried to shut down social media services.
During elections two years ago, some factions tried to institute a ban.
Siraje Nsambu, a spokesman for the Tabliq Muslim sect said: “I was in a village on Sunday when the tax started and people were outraged. Even a poor boy will [now have to] strive hard to buy a Chinese mobile phone and get online.”
Feminist writer and activist Edna Ninsiima also slammed the tax, saying: “It’s trampling freedom of expression and infringing our rights.”
Users who wish to use social media will now have to input a telephone code to pay the tax before they are able to access any of the sites.
Some people have reportedly turned to virtual private networks (VPNs) to disguise their location and avoid paying the tax.
Finance minister David Bahati has said that the tax will pay for “the development of the country” and has ordered the communications regulator to stop Ugandans using VPNs.
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