Uganda imposes tax on Facebook and Twitter to cut down on 'gossip'

This also applies to WhatsApp and Viber.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
Sean knows far too much about Marvel, DC and Star Wars, and poured this knowledge into recaps and explainers on CNET. He also worked on breaking news, with a passion for tech, video game and culture.
Expertise Culture | Video Games | Breaking News
Sean Keane

Facebook is among the social networks that will be taxed in Uganda.

Joel Saget / AFP / Getty Images

Uganda's parliament has passed a law to tax people's social media use.

The Excise Duty (Amendment) Bill imposes a 200 shilling (5 cent) daily charge for messaging services such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber and Twitter in the African country, BBC reported Thursday.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has been pushing for the tax since March, when he wrote a letter to Finance Minister Matia Kasaija saying that the revenue generated would help the country "cope with consequences of olugambo [gossiping]."

The law kicks in July 1, but how the government will enforce it remains unknown.

The bill also imposes a 1 percent levy on mobile money transactions, which some politicians argue will have a negative impact on low income Ugandans who have no local bank.

In Uganda's neighbor, Kenya, Facebook users were encouraged to use the social media network to report violence in the country's 2017 elections.