| 1 March 2024, Friday |

Nigeria says it suspends Twitter days after president’s post removed

Nigeria announced on Friday that Twitter’s operations have been halted indefinitely, two days after the social media company withdrew a message from President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish regional separatists.

The government intervened because of “the repeated use of the platform for activities that are potential of damaging Nigeria’s business existence,” according to Information Minister Lai Mohammed.

Mohammed did not specify how the suspension will be implemented or provide any information about the undermining operations. Twitter’s suspension was also confirmed by his ministry on Twitter.

When asked about the details of the suspension, a ministerial aide told Reuters: “Wait and see how things will turn out.”

Twitter is investigating its “deeply concerning” suspension of operations by the Nigerian government, and “will provide updates when we know more,” the company said in a statement.

Twitter’s website and app continued to work in Nigeria’s capital Abuja and commercial hub Lagos on Friday.

On Wednesday, the U.S. tech firm said Buhari’s post threatening to punish groups blamed for attacks on government buildings had violated Twitter’s “abusive behavior” policy.

In April, the information minister reacted angrily when Twitter chose neighboring Ghana for its first African office. He said the company had been influenced by media misrepresentations of Nigeria, including reports of crackdowns on protests last year.

Demonstrators pushing for police reform utilized social media to organize, raise funds, and publish purported evidence of police misconduct. Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, sent out a tweet encouraging his followers to give.

Mohammed called for “some type of regulation” on social media to combat “false news” in the aftermath of the protests.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for Airtel, one of Nigeria’s top mobile carriers, said the business had not received any government directions regarding the ban.

MTN, Africa’s largest cellphone operator, did not return calls or a message requesting comment.

  • Reuters