Eswatini shuts down Facebook to quell protests


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The Eswatini government has asked leading telecom operator MTN, to shut down social media giant Facebook.

The government wants to curb pro-democracy protests that have been going on for months amid calls for political reforms.

Social media platforms have been accused by the government of “irresponsibly” spreading misinformation, which was “contributing to the violent attacks and events around the country”.

“As government, we have an obligation to restore peace and order to bring a stop to the violence currently taking place,” a letter from Information Minister Princess Sikhanyiso to the communications regulator is quoted as saying by local news outlets.

MTN has also sent a message to its users informing them of the decision to shut down Facebook.

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“Yello Valued Customer, Please note that MTN received a directive from the regulator to suspend access to Facebook until further notice and the directive has been implemented. We regret the inconvenience caused,” the message read.

Protests in Eswatini
Photo: AFP

The latest development comes as protests continued on the streets of the capital, Mbabane.

Eswatini has experienced a wave of protests since June as demonstrators called for major constitutional reform to end the country’s absolute monarchy and pave way for the election of leaders.

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