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Lebanese Government Backs Down From WhatsApp Tax After Sparking Protests

On Thursday, the government in Lebanon announced that they would begin charging a tax for calls made on WhatsApp. The tax would charge citizens 20c/day for calls made via WhatsApp, Facetime & Messenger. It’s safe to say government was not expecting this announcement to take a turn for the worst…

The following day, Lebanese nationals started protesting and for many, it went beyond the WhatsApp tax, with Lebanese nationals protesting the state of the economy at large.

We are not here over the WhatsApp, we are here over everything: over fuel, food, bread, over everything

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Lebanese protestor

This is reminiscent of the protests which took place in January when our own government announced a fuel increase that led to protests in a number of cities across the country – with the protest being triggered by a fuel announcement and becoming much bigger than just that.

It didn’t take long for the government in Lebanon to reverse their decision and rescind the proposed WhatsApp tax which was confirmed by the telecoms minister to reporters after protests started spreading.

Considering the fact that both of Lebanon’s mobile network operator are state-owned it would have been pretty easy to enforce the new tax whilst facing minimal resistance from the MNOs. The intervention by the Lebanese nationals is the second such series of protests in less than a month.


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