Ugandans turn to VPNs to avoid social media tax

Ugandans are turning to Virtual Private Network (VPN) technology to circumvent the government´s “social media tax”, according to VPN comparison site BestVPN.com, the company said.

The new tax is leveled against platforms that that offer Over-The-Top (OTT) services such as VoIP, instant messaging, and video streaming. This includes Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Instagram, Viber and Skype.

The levy has resulted in a spike in interest in VPNs among Ugandan Internet users, according to internal data from BestVPN.com. The comparison site recorded a 1567 percent increase on Saturday and Sunday, compared to the same period the weekend before.

The government claims the new tax will allow it to invest in infrastructure that will improve the Internet for all, but critics claim it is deliberate attempt to hinder criticism of President Yoweri Museveni´s government.