Uganda Imposes Social Media Tax to Stop “Gossip”

Uganda’s parliament has passed a law to impose a “social media tax”. It will enforce a daily fee of about 200 shillings ($0.05 USD) on people using social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and more. It will go into effect on July 1.

To put into perspective, according to The World Bank, in 2016, Uganda’s Gross National Income per capita was $630 USD. That yearly income averages out to about $1.73 USD per day, making the $0.05 USD daily tax a considerable burden on Ugandans.

According to BBC, President Yoweri Museveni has pushed for the bill, arguing that social media “encouraged gossip.” It’s plausible that there are strong political motivations. During Uganda’s 2016 presidential election, President Museveni shut down access to social media apps and platforms to “stop spreading lies.”

It’s still unclear how authorities will be able to identify citizens accessing social media platforms, and major internet service providers have raised doubts as to how the daily tax on social media will be implemented.

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