Ugandans Are Using Sharp Humor to Criticize Their Country's Social Media Tax
The controversial social media tax has gone into effect in Uganda and citizens are using humor—and social media itself—to challenge it.
On Sunday, the Ugandan government put into effect its highly controversial social media tax policy, which charges each Ugandan social media users the equivalent of 200 shillings ($0.05) to use sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp.
The policy has caused a public outcry, as many Ugandans believe that the law impedes upon their free speech, and is another government attempt to silence media critics.
Ugandans have widely criticized the implementation of the tax, which Museveni has claimed will help curb gossip in the country, as well as provide the government with more revenue to payoff national debt.
Some are finding creative ways to avoid paying the tax—mostly by using VPNs which make it appear as though sites are being accessed from another country—but others have had to make electronic payments before entering what the government refers to as Over the Top (OTT) sites, BBC Africa.
Several have taken to social media to express their discontent with having to pay to use social media, and it appears that some are trying to initiate a #NoDataWeek in protest of the levy.
Would you participate in the #NoDataWeek campaign as a counter measure against #socialmediatax ?? *******Vote And RT******— Iribagiza David🇺🇬 (@Iribagiza David🇺🇬)1530347794.0
As always, many are responding to the social media tax with wit and humor, and are taking jabs at the president, even referencing his infamous "the mouth is for eating" rant. Check out some hilarious comments below.
VP: Have you seen the memes social media mocking #SocialMediaTax? M7: Yes, I think we should also make them pay mem… https://t.co/jk0sEQmQdS— Mwes M Drew™ (@Mwes M Drew™)1530443116.0
Y'all remember when you used to say, "Why is this app for free?" Good times #socialmediatax— Little Hansel (@Little Hansel)1530375289.0
The President should also pay over staying tax #SocialMediaTax https://t.co/kcG3RuMXfY— Jeremiah Ainebyona (@Jeremiah Ainebyona)1530337014.0
me trying to test new ways to stalk my crush via email and SMS #Socialmediatax https://t.co/gdcjDM8LqX— burntmelon🌴 (@burntmelon🌴)1530175796.0
Guys lets stop talking about VPN and pretend we paid the tax So that museveni and his goons can start fighting amo… https://t.co/nGWEOHfjnP— B.U.S.O😢🇺🇬 (@B.U.S.O😢🇺🇬)1530425798.0
successfully paying your monthly #SocialMediaTax only to be online alone because your friends haven’t paid yet 😭😭😭😂😂 https://t.co/hqvLex86Dl— Janzy (@Janzy)1530210506.0
Nze am paying #SocialMediaTax for three girls already, i can add you if u want... https://t.co/A4DmI6RDVn— KimTheComic (@KimTheComic)1530306662.0
How MPs kids are reading our tweets on #SocialMediaTax "Look at them, broke people" https://t.co/DThMYd9JzF— Jeremiah Ainebyona (@Jeremiah Ainebyona)1530514988.0
Ugandans going through enough already. 😂#SocialMediaTax https://t.co/FTbnXyqwJY— Catherine Nakawunde (@Catherine Nakawunde)1530387612.0
**Pays social media tax** **buys data*** Telecom network: you have used up 80% of your data bundle Me:… https://t.co/a2gradroug— Jim Trax Japher (@Jim Trax Japher)1530270189.0
#socialmediatax Interviewer: Mr. President what are you going to use the money for... People say you're going to ea… https://t.co/pzzOa8d0Ve— Unemployed Youth🇺🇬 (@Unemployed Youth🇺🇬)1530188493.0
“Last seen 30th June 2018 23:59” 😂😂 Ugandans will understand #SocialMediaTax https://t.co/mUmXxNt7gW— Janzy (@Janzy)1530359255.0
Imagine paying your #socialmediatax only to have your tweet stolen https://t.co/tPTrLaG33r— B.U.S.O😢🇺🇬 (@B.U.S.O😢🇺🇬)1530178515.0
I see people online but no money yet, what's going on? 😂 #SocialMediaTax https://t.co/ynZMhV8x7K— Mwes M Drew™ (@Mwes M Drew™)1530395035.0
In my next life I'm definitely coming back as a Minister's son 👶 so that I can also study from outside countries ✈… https://t.co/Y49UaYV4D9— Talkative Rocker (@Talkative Rocker)1530516869.0
We shall camp in places with free WiFi just to avoid this #SocialmediaTax https://t.co/QhHhG90mBa— JONAM'S PRINCESS👑👑 (@JONAM'S PRINCESS👑👑)1530163047.0