Uganda passed a social media tax that will help “prevent gossip”

This could be an attempt to restrict access to social media by the government.

  • Updated: June 1, 2018 3:23 PM IST

Uganda just passed a controversial social media tax that has become one of the first instances of such a thing in the world. The tax amounts to 200 shillings (Rs 3.56 approx) daily levied on individuals who access social networking and messaging apps and platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Considering that the Trading Economics reported in 2016 that Uganda’s per capita income is around $666.10 (Rs 44,700 approximately), the tax could actually be considered a consequential amount. According to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, social media encourages “gossip” and he has been a very big advocate of the new law that has been passed, reported BBC News.

The law is set to be implemented from July 1, though there is no word about how the government is planning to monitor the social media usage of the people or collect the tax.

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni previously suspended the usage of social media prior to the 2016 election. However, there is no concrete reason as to why this law is being implemented at this moment, and it’s unclear how it will work, if at all.

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Besides Uganda, Papua New Guinea is also planning to clamp down on social media usage in the country to understand the usage. The government announced that it would be blocking access to social media for a month in order to analyze how the service was being used in the country. Though there is no explanation as to why a country would need to block access to social media in order to analyze it, this could be an attempt by these governments to restrict and scrutinize the use of social media.

  • Published Date: June 1, 2018 2:08 PM IST
  • Updated Date: June 1, 2018 3:23 PM IST