Nigeria suspends Twitter ‘indefinitely’ after company deletes President’s tweet

Nigeria’s government is suspending Twitter operations in the country “indefinitely”, the country’s information minister has announced.

The ban is due to “the persistent use of the platform for activities… capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”, according to a statement released on Friday.

It comes just days after a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari was removed for breaching the site’s rules.

The statement did not mention the row.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed previously criticised the US social media giant’s decision, calling it “double standards”.

The site – which was still available to users in Nigeria following Friday’s announcement – removed a tweet sent by the president on 1 June.

It referred to the 1967-70 Nigerian Civil War and to treating “those misbehaving today” in “the language they will understand”.

A Twitter spokesperson said the post “was in violation of the Twitter Rules. The account owner will be required to delete the violative Tweet and spend 12 hours with their account in read-only mode”. The statement gave no further details.

There were no details on how Nigeria’s ban would work in practice in Friday’s statement, or any explanation of how Twitter had undermined Nigeria’s corporate existence.

The statement also revealed that the national broadcasting regulator, NBC, has been told to start “the process of licensing all OTT [internet streaming services] and social media operations in Nigeria”.

The Nigerian government has toyed with the idea of regulating social media in the country, and this administration has been obsessed with the idea since it came into office in 2015. Deleting the president’s tweet, however, was seen as the final straw.

But it was the role Twitter played in the #EndSars anti-police brutality protests which shook Nigeria last year that truly sealed its fate.

Source: BBC

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