News Brief
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Uganda Has Lost Millions of Internet Users as a Result of Its Controversial Social Media Tax

The infamous tax is effectually driving Ugandans off the internet.

The number of internet users in Uganda has declined significantly since the implementation of the highly-criticized tax on social media, which went into effect in July of last year.

While the government claimed that the tax would assist in raising government revenue and help "maintain the security of the country and extend electricity so that you people can enjoy more of social media, more often, more frequently," said Uganda's Finance Minister Matia Kasaija at the time. President Museveni also suggested that the tax would help "curb gossip" online.


However, emerging reports claim that the tax has not been beneficial in the ways the government might have hoped, and find that it has only helped decrease the amount of Ugandans who actively use the internet, as the ordinance put tax on popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. The Ugandan Communications Commission, shared data from its third qaurter report via Twitter last month, which revealed the detrimental effect that the levy has had on digital inclusion in the country.

The implementation of the tax has led to a decline of 2.5 million internet users in the nation, declining by 15 percent and 0.39 percent in August and September respectively, while mobile money transactions took a dip of 4.5 trillion Ugandan shillings ($1.2 million).

Ugandans and members of the international community criticized the tax from the onset pointing out—often humorously— its regressive nature and referring to it as a veiled attempt at government monitoring and censorship.

Many online are expressing concern over the new findings and what else the social media tax could mean for people in the country.


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A person holds an umbrella bearing the colors of the rainbow flag as others wave flags during a gay pride rally in Entebbe, Uganda. August 09, 2014. (Photo: ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

A Lesbian Woman, Who Fled Uganda for the US After a Homophobic Attack, Is Now Facing Deportation

The Trump administration does not believe she faces a threat in Uganda, despite the country recently threatening to re-introduce its "Kill the Gays" bill.

A lesbian woman who fled Uganda in the face of homophobic violence, now faces being deported from the US by the Trump administration.

According to a recent report published in Rolling Stone magazine, a Ugandan woman by the name of Margaret sought asylum in the US after being beaten and raped at a festival in Uganda known as a gathering place for the country's LGBTQ community. Following the attack, she entered the country through the US-Mexico border—a dangerous, yet increasingly common route for migrants coming from the continent.

In the Rolling Stone article, she recounts several of the hardships she faced as a lesbian woman coming of age in Uganda and as an African migrant seeking refuge in the US. "I pray that everything works out," Margaret told Rolling Stone. "Because it has been so tough. Ever since I was 13, I just wanted to be free, instead of hiding who I am. I just want to be free, that's all. And happy."

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Ugandan Musician, Ziggy Wine, Dies From Injuries After Being Abducted and Tortured

The artist, who was kidnapped in July, was a close friend of Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine and a supporter of the resistance movement, People Power.

Ugandan musician Allinda Michael, better known as Ziggy Wine—a close affiliate of opposition leader and musician Bobi Wine—has died after being abducted and tortured, BBC Africa reports.

The artist, who was signed to Bobi Wine's Firebase Crew music label and was a firm supporter of the People Power movement, was kidnapped on July 21 while he was on his way to a recording session in Kampala. He was found a week later with several injuries, including a missing eye and two fingers. He died at Mulago Hospital in Kampala on Sunday night.

Police say they have launched an investigation into his death. Given his association with People Power, both Bobi Wine and the late artist's family allege that the abduction may have been politically motivated, reports BBC Africa. Bobi Wine recently announced that he will run for office in 2021, challenging President Yoweri Museveni's 33-year rule.

READ: Bobi Wine is Officially Running for the Ugandan Presidency in 2021

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(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Rejoice! WhatsApp Places New Restrictions on Chain Messages to Fight Fake News

To combat the spread of misinformation due to the coronavirus outbreak, users are now restricted from sharing frequently forwarded messages to more than one person.

The rise of the novel coronavirus has seen an increase in the spread of fake news across social media sites and platforms, particularly WhatsApp—a platform known as a hotbed for the forwarding of illegitimate chain messages and conspiracy theories (if you have African parents, you're probably familiar). Now the Facebook-owned app is setting in place new measures to try and curb the spread of fake news on its platform.

The app is putting new restrictions on message forwarding which will limit the number of times a frequently forwarded message can be shared. Messages that have been sent through a chain of more than five people can only subsequently be forwarded to one person. "We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful," announced the app in a blog post on Tuesday. "In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers."

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Sarkodie Hits Hard With His Latest Single 'Sub Zero'

The Ghanaian heavyweight rapper shows up with the fire bars over an Altra Nova-produced beat.

Sarkodie has dropped a new aggressive track in the shape of "Sub Zero."

"Sub Zero" follows the star Ghanaian rapper as he throws back criticisms that have come his way from other rappers with his own ice cold flow. The new track was produced by Ghanaian beatmaker Altra Nova and mixed by PEE On Da BeaT.

"Sub Zero" follows Sarkodie's turn-up single "Bumper," which dropped bak in February.

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