A message announcing Facebook’s possible withdrawal from Uganda in reaction to the country’s recently enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act has turned out to be fake.
Yesterday, a number of African websites published a statement attributed to Sheryl Kara Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operations Officer.
It reads: “When we launched Facebook, we thought it as a platform to advance people’s rights and liberties of self expression in all form.
“We were equally shocked to learn that Uganda as a country had gone ahead to sign the Anti Homosexuality bill into a law.
“Facebook is currently reviewing its engagement to Uganda, as we seek to come up with a voice to express our dissatisfaction. And of course, suspending our operations in Uganda is one of the options we are considering. In the event that we suspend operations in Uganda, our platforms of Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp will be off for a time we shall deem necessary.
“We strongly condemn the act of the Ugandan Government to overstep the rights of a minority. All humans are created equal and deserve a right to freedom and happiness.”
Mambaonline, however, was unable to find the statement on the Facebook press site. A query to its press office went unanswered. But, according to Gay Star News, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed that there was no such statement issued by the social media company.
“They are not quotes from Sheryl. These are hoax quotes,” he said.
Other than it’s occasional deletion of images showing same-sex intimacy in error (for which it usually apologises). Facebook has been a long-time supporter of LGBTI rights. The company has recognised same-sex marriages in its relationship options and has worked to prevent anti-LGBTI bullying on its site.
Facebook was recently lauded for introducing an extensive list of profile gender identity options to allow users to more accurately reflect who they are.