Many Ugandans are turning to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to bypass a new social media tax that came into force on Sunday, July 1, 2018.
Ugandans to find that if they hadn’t paid the new tax on social-media use, services like WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook and Skype were inaccessible.
The new law imposes a 200 shilling($0.05, £0.04) daily levy on people using internet messaging platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Viber.
President Yoweri Museveni had pushed for the changes, arguing that social media encouraged gossip. Critics say the law curtails freedom of expression.
A VPN gets around government censorship by redirecting your internet activity to a computer in a different country.
Now the head of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has said VPNs will be blocked, provoking plenty of responses online:
I totally forgot about this social media tax In uganda and now I'm out here using a VPN just to use WhatsApp🙄🙄#uganda— Lorenzo Baitwa (@Bait_kid09) July 1, 2018
It's not the first time the government has cracked down on social media users.
In 2016, social media platforms were blocked in Uganda on election day to stop people "telling lies", President Museveni said.
Internet penetration stands at just 22% in Uganda, according to the World Bank. Social networks constitute the internet for those already online, with Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter being the most popular apps.