Uganda introduces a tax on social networks for access to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

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Citizens of the Republic of Uganda are paying a social networking fee from July 1 if they want to access online services such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. These are classified as "Over The Top Services", something that would suggest that the traffic being accessed is very high, and users are the ones who bear extra costs. The fee is applied directly to the telecom operator's bill and is paid at the end of the month, and operators are then forced to pay the amount to the state.

Fortunately, the tax is not very high, being set at 200 shs (uganda shilling), equivalent to five US cents, but this could be a problem for very low-income citizens, which will therefore limit their content consumption social networks. The original proposal for this initiative was made by the country's president, Yoweri Museveni, who took over the country's leadership in 1981 and remained in office until now

It was re-elected in 2016, and during the election, access to Facebook and Twitter was restricted, motivating "threats to the country's security." Last year, the country's legislation was changed to remove the president's maximum age, which could not exceed 75 years. Museveni is 73 years old and will continue to be president of Uganda.

Amnesty International has issued a statement asking the Ugandan authorities to waive this tax in order not to limit the freedom of expression of low-income people, which contravenes human rights

In Uganda there are 17 million Internet users out of 41 million citizens. The Ugandan authorities expect to raise 400 billion Shs this year on the basis of this tax, or about 100 million US dollars.

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