Twitter decided that now would be a good time to weigh in on how things are going in Uganda of all places, where Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has taken the drastic action of temporarily banning Facebook and Twitter in the final hours leading up to Thursday's general elections for the presidency and parliament.
Museveni argued that the US-based social media platforms are engaged in censorship that unfairly targets his campaign while propping up opposition frontrunner candidate Bobi Wine. After being on a days-long massive purge of pro-Trump accounts in the US which began when the president himself was permanently banned, Twitter had this to say, and without irony:
"We strongly condemn internet shutdowns..."
The lack of self-awareness is staggering. https://t.co/f9Xah4Su7Q— Clifford Asness (@CliffordAsness) January 12, 2021
Billionaire co-founder of AQR Capital Management Cliff Asness immediately said exactly what was on everyone's mind: "The lack of self-awareness is staggering."
It is indeed yet another example of Twitter being completely blinded by the hypocrisy as to the way it exercises its immense power in its own backyard (or worse, the major Silicon Valley moguls are quite aware and simply don't care).
This also after Amazon, Apple and Google agreed in unison to destroy Parlor as it was politically expedient, apparently. And now Twitter is actually lecturing the head of a foreign state on not violating the "principles of the Open Internet".
So much for that "open" internet....
“No authoritarians believe they are authoritarians.” pic.twitter.com/kzRKcjnPRh— La nuit sera calme (@NuitSeraCalme) January 12, 2021
As for Uganda a long list of online platforms are currently down alongside Twitter and Facebook ahead of the election, including WhatsApp, Instagram, Skype, Snapchat, Viber, Google Play and others.
Facebook actually admitted to the AP that it indeed took down many users promoting Museveni as it alleged his campaign "used fake and duplicate accounts to manage pages, comment on other people’s content, impersonate users, re-share posts in groups to make them appear more popular than they were. Given the impending election in Uganda, we moved quickly to investigate and take down this network."
In response to the conduct by @Twitter and @Facebook' s decision to suspend and block government leaning user accounts, the President of Uganda @KagutaMuseveni said that there is no way anybody should come and decide for our country. @OfwonoOpondo pic.twitter.com/MFPqqj7Rba— Government of Uganda (@GovUganda) January 12, 2021
Museveni responded by vowing "there is no way anybody should come and decide for our country" - in reference to the US tech oligarchs during a national address over the crisis.
Again, Twitter is now oh-so-worried about principles of free speech and #OpenInternet - as it stated in its official message - in far away foreign countries like Uganda, but is not batting an eye while simultaneously shutting down thousands of conservative accounts.