Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Frank Tumwebaze, following increased outcry that he was becoming intolerant by blocking his followers on Twitter — he responded with tough words, stating why he was closing curtains to prevent them from accessing information he posts.
In a tweet posted on April 26, Tumwebaze clarified on the issue, saying that he wasn’t blocking tweeps because he was becoming insular to other people’s views, but because they were peddling targeted insults on the platform.
“I block insult vendors. I devote time to these platforms not [because] I am idle, but [because] I value engagement & contestation of ideas. I also try 2 inform those that want to learn,” he said.
Tumwebaze’s response came shortly after Paul Mugume, a prominent blogger and social media manager at Africell said that the minister had “blocked me”, wondering “how” he was “going to get informed when I can’t see what he is communicating.”
The Minister of “Information” neebigendelako blocked me.
How am I going to get “informed” when I can’t see what he communicating? pic.twitter.com/yHn8K4dz9L
— Hon. Oworugambo (@PaulMugume_) April 26, 2018
The minister, however, said that he had “no time 4 those who insult as a result of their inability 2 comprehend issues or sustain arguments.”
I block insult vendors . I devote time on these platforms not bse I am idle, but bse I value engagement& contestation of ideas. I also try 2 inform those that want to learn.I have no time 4 those who insult as a result of their inability 2 comprehend issues or sustain arguments https://t.co/2fNWMTlY5G
— Frank K Tumwebaze,MP (@FrankTumwebazek) April 27, 2018
Worth noting, Mugume says he was blocked by Tumwebaze because of pointing out that he had misspelt a word in his (Tumwebaze’s) profile.
But the issue of accounts of public figures blocking their followers on social media is an extensive one.
For instance, when the minister responded to those he had blocked, a couple of other tweeps emerged, and notable among them is a one Andrew Mwesiga, who was blocked by twitter account handlers of President Yoweri Museveni.
Meanwhile, found out yesterday that President Museveni blocked me. Such pettiness! Is this even legal? pic.twitter.com/EfAr5UTetl
— Mwes M Drew™ (@_mwes) April 27, 2018
Mwesigwa was allegedly blocked for captioning a picture that made rounds on social media showing Museveni dozing off as he attended CHOGM in London, UK.
In London for the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting pic.twitter.com/J9vfo1EG02
— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) April 19, 2018
Ekintu okikutte namanyi mzee ? pic.twitter.com/Inid042LTq
— Mwes M Drew™ (@_mwes) April 19, 2018
Some critics, however, say that some of the account handlers drag emotions into their work and end up blocking people over “petty” issues.
Several other tweeps talked about being blocked but since the application doesn’t notify when you are blocked, they couldn’t figure out when and why they were blocked.
Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and many others give an account an option of blocking other accounts that one may not want to view their timeline and tag them in irrelevant conversations and content.