As Uganda held the February 2016 elections, most social media platforms were blocked. The incumbent, President Museveni said the reason for doing that was to stop people from misusing social media and “telling lies”.
As a result, most people opted for something called VPN. For those who might not fully understand what a VPN is; this is what you need to know.
First and foremost, VPN is an acronym that stands for Virtual Private network. It is a type of technology that allows you to access any restricted/blocked sites globally. A VPN provides you online anonymity and security. It hides your true identity.
Whenever you are connected to the Internet, you are assigned a certain address, called an IP address. (Look at it as a regular home address). With this IP address, you can be tracked down on the internet as easily as with a regular home address in ‘real life’.
Unfortunately, many people do not like that level of access, so they use a VPN, which replaces their real IP address with another IP address usually from a different country.
If you have been to certain sites, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify among others, you might have come across a message indicating that their services are not available in your country. If you’re not in the U.S., for example, they prevent you from accessing their services. They can determine that you are not from the US basing on your IP address. So, many people use various VPNs based in the United States so that the above-mentioned services do not see their real IP address but instead see the one in the U.S. (that belongs to the VPN) and unblock their access.
For Uganda’s case, if the condition was that any IP address in Uganda should not access Facebook among other social media platforms; when you install a VPN on your device and you are in Uganda; it allocates you an IP address from a different country; that way, your access to the restricted sites is unblocked.
How to use a VPN to unblock social media;
There are various VPN’s on the internet. Some are free; others need to be bought. Select a VPN from the various options as per your needs, preferences and budget.
Go to VPN service provider’s official website.
Download the VPN client software provided by your preferred service provider.
Install VPN client software on your device (PC, Mac, Linux, Android or iOS device).
Open VPN client software once installed.
Enter your username and password provided by VPN service provider in confirmation email.
Choose the server you wish to connect (Choose a country that is not too hard on social media platforms with respect to its censorship policies).
Select a tunneling protocol (L2TP/IPSec recommended if you are security conscious).
Click “Connect” and wait for the connection to be established.
Congratulations! You have successfully bypassed all restrictions – censorship will haunt you no more – enjoy unblocked Facebook, Twitter and YouTube without any hassle.