Anti- FGM Activists take activism to social media

By Sania Babirye

Anti Female genital Mutilation activists  have devised a new  strategy of creating  and re packaging  the message against female genital mutilation.

The new strategy will involve short videos taken  by youths who are activists against Female genital Mutilation distributed in communities practicing FGM distributed using their social media platforms like Facebook, Youtube  among other social media networks.

As a result  the Italian Association for Women in Development has concluded a 10 day training workshop on how to create and produce videos on FGM in Kampala where 13 youths from African countries and Germany affected by FGM received certificates,  smart phones and cameras to  help  them in their work.

While closing the workshop Susan Namuwonge from the ministry  of Gender has welcomed the video strategy   saying it is very  important and appropriate because it stimulates discussion over an act that violates the   rights to life among other human rights violations .

She further says that with the power  that a video has to go viral more attention will be given to the abandonment against the act because people learn best when they hear and see helping them to appreciate the fact that FGM is a bad practice.

According to UNICEF report at least 200 million girls and women in 30 countries especially in Africa have been subjected to the practice.

FGM has also emerged as an issue in Europe (German)due to migration from countries affected by  practice.

Egyptian Government to register social media users

The Egyptian government is considering radical new proposals to restrict citizens’ access to social media.

A draft bill circulated in Egyptian newspapers would require users to register with the government to access sites including Twitter and Facebook. Successful applicants would receive a login linked to their national ID. Unauthorized use could result in prison sentences and heavy fines.
The draft was authored by MP Reyad Abdel Sattar of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, the largest party in parliament with 65 of 596 seats. He told the Egypt Independent it would: “facilitate state surveillance over social networks in Egypt by making users enroll in a government-run electronic system that will grant them permission to access Facebook.”
Sattar said the reforms were necessary to combat terrorism and incitement against the state. He claims to have the support of 60 fellow MPs as the bill goes to parliamentary committees for review.
Civil society groups are alarmed by the implications of the proposed law.
“This will have a big impact by controlling what people say and don’t say,” says Wafa-Ben Hassine of digital rights group Access Now. “Government issued IDs are linked to a plethora of activities including driving, banking, and medical services so the government will have much more information about users’ whereabouts.”
The April 6 Youth Movement denounced the proposal in a scathing Facebook post:
“Unfortunately these ideas are outdated…The whole world has gone beyond the idea of banning the Internet.”

SnapChat’s nightmare, New whatsapp status feature registers more users

It’s been less than three months since Whatsapp introduced its Snapchat copycat stories feature, and it already has 175 million users thanks to its massive numbers as compared to the competition. This comes as no surprise as Whatsapp has more than 1 billion users around the world. And, looks like Facebook’s strategy of Xeroxing Snapchat’s entire suite of products is having a positive effect — which has resulted in a halt Snapchat’s growth worldwide.

Snapchat has only enjoyed a favorable audience mainly in the US leaving the international audience out of it’s target market. This means when WhatsApp introduced the Stories feature, relatively few international users had been exposed to the stories format before, it seemed reasonable that it could prove popular in WhatsApp. Facebook’s announcement today during an earnings call confirms that, for now at least, it appears to be working.

Its clear that Snapchat faces a strong challenge from Facebook, and the future of the company is uncertain given that it recently issued its IPO. And by February, Snapchat had 161 million daily users.

Also, WhatsApp was down today for two hours.




Vision group journalist arrested for posing with a fire arm

Bonny Odongo, a Lira based Vision Group journalist has been arrested for allegedly being in possession of an illegal firearm.

Odongo, a Sub Editor of Rupiny Newspaper, a sister publication to ‘The New Vision’ was picked by police flying squad last evening from Lira town and he is now held at Lira Central Police Station.

His arrest stems from a photo of him posing with a pistol while drinking in a bar. The picture has made several rounds on various social media platforms over the last one week.

Joel Tubanone, the Lira District Police commander confirmed the arrest adding that investigations are underway to establish how the journalist accessed the pistol.

Odongo has since disassociated himself from the photo arguing that it could be a result of Photoshop by his foes.





Malawian first lady blames social media for frustrating fight against HIV/AIDS

Malawian first lady, Dr. Gertrude Mutharika, the increased usage of social media among youths in Africa is frustrating the continent’s efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.

Mutharika is the President of the African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) -an organisation that brings together all first ladies in Africa to combat HIV.

Speaking during the during the Africa Health Agenda International Youth Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya over the weekend, Mutharika noted that whereas many youths have used social media such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp among others to create innovations that have promoted good health behavior among their peers, many have misused it to promoting acts that have increased the number of HIV youths infections.

Margaret Kenyatta, Kenya’s First Lady promised the youth that OAFLA is committed to support them against HIV. She notes that African governments need to understand and engage youth to establish youth led interventions to fight the HIV scourge.

Anderson Tsuma, a youth activist and chairperson of Youth Action Movement Kenya, notes that although social media and mobile technologies  have the potential to prevent HIV by spreading awareness, there  is a challenge of control.

He notes that there is need for African governments to sensitize the youth on the proper use of the media, that girls have been reported in the main stream media to have been raped  by strangers they met via social media.
Catherine Chiboola, a youth activist from Zambia says that youth have used these technologies to get online resources, information, and learning opportunities and health information including on HIV/AIDS.

She notes that governments should make establishment of ICT centers in rural areas a priority so that youth in remote and hard to reach areas can also benefit from what social media can provide.

According a 2016 report by Unicef,  an estimated 36.7 million people were living with HIV worldwide in 2015. Of these, 1.8 million were children under 15 years of age and about 17.8 million were women and girls.

The report also revealed that each day that year, approximately 5,700 people were infected with HIV and approximately 3,000 people died from AIDS-related causes, mostly because of inadequate access to HIV prevention care and treatment services.

However, according to the report new HIV infections among children are declining rapidly – approximately 70 per cent since 2001 – largely due to scaled-up efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission.

The toll of HIV and AIDS continues to be harsh, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for the vast majority of the world’s people living with AIDS, new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths.




Most Facebook users suffer depression resulting from envy -Study

Facebook is making us unhappy and causing people who suffer “Facebook envy” to be particularly depressed, a study has found.

Users who took a week-long break from the social media site were found to be more satisfied with life and rated their own well-being as higher.

The University of Copenhagen experiment involved 1,095 people, half of whom were asked to continue their Facebook habits and half ordered to abstain from logging on.

Those who admitted suffering high levels of Facebook envy, the tendency to be jealous of your friends’ activities on social media, benefited most from going teetotal.

“Millions of hours are spent on Facebook each day,” wrote report author Morten Tromholt.

“We are surely better connected now than ever before, but is this new connectedness doing any good to our well-being?

“According to the present study, the answer is ‘no’. In fact, the predominant uses of Facebook – that is, as a means to communicate and gain information about others, as habitual pastime – are affecting our well-being negatively on several dimensions.”

The sample size was 86 per cent female, spread across Denmark, with an average age of 34, and with an average Facebook-friends count of 350.

They were first asked to take a 15-minute pre-test which then randomly dropped them into either the treatment group – who were banned from Facebook for seven days – or the control group – who were asked to continue using it as usual.

In the post-test on the last day of the experiment, which 888 participants completed, 13 per cent of the treatment group admitted giving in and using Facebook.

The majority of these “non-compliers” claimed it was either because of an emergency or was a “habitual accident”.

In the test, the Facebook users rated their life satisfaction at 7.74 out of 10 average, but those who stayed away rated it at 8.11.

The effect of quitting Facebook on well-being was also greater for users who feel “Facebook envy” than for users who do not.





Facebook post lands FDC’s Swaibu Nsamba in hot soup

Swaibu Nsamba Gwogyolonga, the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC chairperson for Katikamu South Constituency in Luweero district is in trouble over an offensive social media post against president, Yoweri Museveni.

Nsamba was picked up by Police detectives from Wobulenzi town council over the weekend and detained briefly at Wobulenzi Police station before he was transferred to the Criminal Investigations Department headquarters at Kibuli.

He was interrogated by Bill Dickson Ndyamuhaki, the Acting Police Commissioner of Electronic Counter Measures Department on Monday and was charged with offensive communication contrary to section (25) of the Computer Misuse act 2011.

He was released on police bond on Monday afternoon and ordered to return on Thursday December 15th when he is expected to appear before court over the charges. Police also confiscated Nsamba’s phone as part of the exhibit in the case.

Trouble for Nsamba stemmed from his Facebook post expressing how he will announce and mourn the death of president, Yoweri Museveni when he dies. The post was accompanied with a Photoshop of Museveni and how will look after his demise. Nsamba says the charges against him infringe on his freedom of expression.

URN couldn’t reach Police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi to comment on the charges brought against Nsamba. Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala, the Chief Executive Officer Unwanted Witness Uganda, a civil society organization, which seeks to promote secure uncensored online platforms has condemned the arrest of Nsamba.

He describes the charges against Nsamba as vague and a threat to freedom of thought and expression. He also disclosed their plans to challenge the Computer Misuse Act 2011 in court, saying it is offensive to Chapter Four of the Constitution and promotes self-censorship.

In May this year, Police arrested Henry Mutyaba and Robert Darius Tweyambe, both residents of Kampala for allegedly circulating a photo on Facebook claiming that Museveni is dead. The duo was charged with demeaning the person of President and charged with computer misuse. Their case is yet to be concluded.

Mark Zuckerberg expresses interest in M-Pesa, he might buy it off

Mobile money giant, Mpesa, may be headed the Facebook way. The Facebook creator was in Kenya over the course of last week, an impromptu visit that caused a stir on Global Tech business scene. It was the first time that Mark Eliot showed envy on the largest Mobile money company on the planet. Mark made one of the largest buyouts in history when he bought social messaging company Whatsapp.

He also bought the premiere photo sharing app Instagram both of which have grown to over a billion monthly users making them the largest social networks and on top ten Websites on Alexa.

If Facebook finally manages to acquire Mpesa, it will become a global company. It will have advantage of a worldwide exposure through merging with Facebook and it will get world class infrastructure by the elites of the Tech business. Charges will go down, most probably so low due to a Large user base. The negotiations are on going and soon we may be cerebrating one of our own, Changing lives around the globe.




-Teron Futures



Whatsapp announces end to end encryption to protect users

With end-to-end encryption, messages are scrambled as they leave the sender’s device and can only be decrypted by the recipient’s device.

It renders messages unreadable if they are intercepted, for example by criminals or law enforcement.

Whatsapp, which has a billion users worldwide, said file transfers and voice calls would be encrypted too.

The Facebook-owned company said protecting private communication was one of its “core beliefs”.

Encryption was thrown under the spotlight after the FBI asked Apple to help it access data on an iPhone used by California gunman Syed Farook.

Whatsapp said: “The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us.”

Users with the latest version of the app were notified about the change when sending messages on Tuesday. The setting is enabled by default.

Amnesty International called the move a “huge victory” for free speech.

“Whatsapp’s roll out of the Signal Protocol, providing end to end encryption for its one billion users worldwide, is a major boost for people’s ability to express themselves and communicate without fear,” the organisation said in a statement.

“This is a huge victory for privacy and free speech, especially for activists and journalists who depend on strong and trustworthy communications to carry out their work without putting their lives at greater risk.”

Whatsapp’s decision was also welcomed by security professionals.

“Wire-tappers lament, law-abiding citizens rejoice, for WhatsApp’s latest update is a victory for communications privacy,” said Lee Munson, a security researcher for Comparitech.

“With the ability to access data removed even from the company behind the app, only ill-informed law enforcement agencies are likely to mutter ‘terrorists’ as the masses enjoy the encrypted text messages, photos, video and phone calls they’ve been demanding ever since Edward Snowden blew the lid on government surveillance.”

The move is likely to irk law enforcement agencies, particularly the US Department of Justice which has recently expressed concern over “unreachable” information contained in devices. The DoJ did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment on Tuesday.

Indeed, FBI attorney James Baker has reportedly criticised the move saying encryption threatens the work of law enforcement.





Facebook responds to Mwema’s letter, asks him to send URLs of TVO’s post

Following Mwema’s letter to Facebook requesting that Facebook provides information about the person of Tom Voltaire Okwalinga.  Facebook has written back to Mwema asking him to send URLs of TVO’s post.



We are in receipt of your letter dated 2016-03-22, a copy of which is attached to this message for your reference. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.  We are writing to get additional details so that we can better understand your recent report. Based on the information you provided, it is unclear where the content you wish to report appears on our site. In almost all instances, the best way to help us locate content is to provide us with active web addresses (URLs) leading directly to that specific content.

In the report you filed, you did not provide any URLs (or one or more of the URL(s) you provided seems to be incomplete or inactive), and you did not otherwise provide a description of the location of the content sufficient for us to be able to find it.

If you are trying to report a Wall post or story in your news feed, you can find its direct URL by clicking the time and date that appears in gray with the content (for example: “8 hours ago” or “August 11 at 10:30am.”).

If you cannot provide URLs leading directly to the content you wish to report, please be sure to include information reasonably sufficient to permit us to locate the content, such as a description of the content and where it appears (e.g., on a particular timeline, in a photo album, etc.), dates/times of when the content was posted (usually indicated below the content), names of responsible users, and/or quotes of the content you wish to report as it appears on Facebook.

Please note that it is possible that the content you wish to report has already been removed from the site. If that is the case, you do not need to respond to this email.

Once you have provided information sufficient for us to locate the content you wish to report, we would be happy to look into this matter further.

Intellectual Property Operations