After Facebook and Twitter began their ban spree, removing any accounts that post ideas, talking points, or facts that they disagree with, some people began to fight back.
On January 12, Uganda fought back against Facebook and Twitter by banning them from the internet in the country after both companies started censoring Ugandan officials in the leadup to the country’s election.
“We demand that @Facebook & @Twitter write directly to the individuals that lost their accounts. Since @Facebook cited [Uganda’s Ministry of ICT] in their statement, let them write to us so that there’s a chance for a fair hearing. Accounts lost on Facebook belong to @GovUganda employees,” tweeted Uganda Media Centre.
WATCH: We demand that @Facebook & @Twitter write directly to the individuals that lost their accounts. Since @Facebook cited @MoICT_Ug in their statement, let them write to us so that there’s a chance for a fair hearing.
Accounts lost on Facebook belong to @GovUganda employees. pic.twitter.com/gGSDYkfgWI
— Uganda Media Centre (@UgandaMediaCent) January 12, 2021
Uganda’s Communications Regulator sent a letter to internet service providers dated January 12, which ordered them to block all social media platforms and messaging apps until further notice.
NetBlocks, an internet monitor, announced that its data showed that the list of websites unavailable via Uganda’s main cell network operators includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, and Google Play Store.
Twitter’s Response to Uganda
In response to Uganda banning the social media platform, Twitter Public Policy sent out a hilariously oblivious tweet complaining about the decision.
“Ahead of the Ugandan election, we’re hearing reports that Internet service providers are being ordered to block social media and messaging apps. We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet,” Twitter Pubic Policy tweeted.
Ahead of the Ugandan election, we're hearing reports that Internet service providers are being ordered to block social media and messaging apps.
We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet.
— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) January 12, 2021
“Earlier this week, in close coordination with our peers, we suspended a number of accounts targeting the election in Uganda. If we can attribute any of this activity to state-backed actors, we will disclose to our archive of information operations,” they admitted in a subsequent tweet, clearly not recognizing the blatant hypocrisy in their statements.
“Access to information and freedom of expression, including the public conversation on Twitter, is never more important than during democratic processes, particularly elections,” they added, obviously forgetting that they censored information put out by President Trump and other conservatives throughout the 2020 election cycle in the United States.
Access to information and freedom of expression, including the public conversation on Twitter, is never more important than during democratic processes, particularly elections.#UgandaDecides2021 #KeepItOn https://t.co/Q2SJfsFUiD
— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) January 12, 2021
Idaho Follows Uganda’s Lead
An internet service provider in Idaho has blocked Facebook and Twitter from its service after the social media platforms started purging conservatives, including President Trump, from their services.
According to a report by local news outlet KREM 2, the move will begin on Wednesday, January 13, and will prevent Facebook and Twitter from being used on WIFI in the area.
“It has come to our attention that Twitter and Facebook are engaged in censorship of our customers and information,” said an email to the WIFI customers.
“We have the past couple days been fielding calls from customers voicing the concern that they do not want these sites allowed to be displayed on their internet feed to them and that they do not want their children to go to these sites,” the email adds.
Umm from my North Idaho internet provider…. this is INSANE. pic.twitter.com/vzy9tSDRAp
— krista yep (@yes4yep) January 10, 2021
“The ISP explained that because there are too many customers asking for the sites to be blocked, it will be blocking Facebook and Twitter for all customers unless they reach out to the company to request access… The ISP further explained that it does not condone Facebook and Twitter — as well as other big tech companies — censoring users or ‘trying to exterminate the competition,’ such as Parler,” Breitbart reported.
“Our company does not believe a website or social networking site has the authority to censor what you see and post and hide information from you. We have made this decision to block these two websites from being accessed from our network,” the email reads.
“We also don’t condone what Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and Apple are doing either to Parler by trying to strong arm them into submission,” the email adds.
An updated email sent to customers on January 11 clarified that it would not block the websites for customers who did not want them blocked.