Facebook has slammed reports that claimed the social media giant will be pulling out of Uganda over the anti-gay law.
Several African news reports printed a statement from the social media giant’s chief operating officer.
‘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,’ Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operations officer, quoted as saying.
‘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.’
She ‘added’: ‘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.’
But Facebook has made no such comment over Uganda’s president signing the bill into law on Monday (24 February).
Confirming to Gay Star News, a Facebook spokesperson said they were hoax quotes and not attributable to the company.
‘They are not quotes from Sheryl. These are hoax quotes,’ he said.
Gay rights activists were fearful over the fake reports, saying if the social media site ceased operations in Uganda, it could damage their work.
Edwin Sesange, director of the Africa LGBTI Out and Proud Diamond Group, said Facebook is one of the only means to reach out to people in Uganda.
Speaking to GSN, he said: ‘I’d like to thank Facebook standing with us and giving us a platform to reach out to our people in Uganda.
‘I encourage them to allow us to keep on going. The government doesn’t allow us to put out gay rights messages, but we can use Facebook and other social medias to fight for equality. ‘
UPDATE: This article was updated minutes after publishing following confirmation from Facebook that the quotes were made up.