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The Arab Spring that destabilized governments in the Middle East began in the spring of 2011. Nearly a decade later, the full repercussions of the uprisings are starting to hit home with some governments adopting a new strategy to curtail their influence: taxing social media usage. Arab Spring protesters primarily used social media networks to successfully effect regime changes. And now some autocratic governments are hitting back by trying to limit citizens’ access to these tools. One such country is Uganda.
The East African nation with a population of 43 million has become the latest country to attempt to gag the voice of its citizens after imposing a social media tax intended to ‘‘curb gossip.’’ The Ugandan government has introduced a tax of 200 Uganda shilling (5.4 cents) a day to use social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and others.
Delight - Ugandan - Government - Millions - Citizens
And, perhaps to the delight of the Ugandan government, millions of its citizens are quitting these networks.
The daily levy was introduced in July 2018 on roughly 60 online platforms to tame what the government terms as “idle talk” and also as a means to raise revenue. To use these sites, Ugandans now have had to cough up the equivalent of $1.62 per month.
Millions - Ugandans - Media - Sites - Tax
That doesn’t sound like much until you realize that millions of Ugandans have already abandoned social media sites after the tax made its debut. According to StatCounter Uganda’s Facebook subscriptions declined to 59.3 percent of internet users in January 2019 from 82.8 percent in June 2018 just before the levees were announced in July. Roughly 40 percent of Ugandans have access to the internet, so that works out to nearly 4 million Ugandans who have quite FB since the regressive tax was introduced.
Why have so many Ugandans quite FB since the introduction of the seemingly affordable social media tax?...
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