By Marketforces Africa -June 4, 2021
For removing President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweets threatening to punish secessionists amidst the ongoing unrest, Nigeria said on Friday it had indefinitely suspended Twitter’s activities. The ban comes two days after the social media giant removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari’s handle.
Federal Ministry of Information announced the indefinite ban placed on the operations of the microblogging and social media networking services in Nigeria on Friday.
“Treat them the language they understand tweet”; angered some Nigerians on the platform, saying the statement be-little the office of the Nigerian president.
Nigeria’s Ministry of Information has had a run with the social media giant in recent time after taking its African office to neighbouring Ghana. The move did not sit down well with the authority.
Sources told MarketForces Africa that told MarketForces Africa the Federal Government is working on the ban. However, this cannot be effectively carried out without telecom operators’ involvement.
On the ban, Nigerian information Minister Lai Mohammed said the government had acted because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”. Mohammed did not spell out what form the suspension would take or give more details on the undermining activities.
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.
For now, the detail of the bank is sketchy as the direction and its dimension remains unknown.
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 behaviour” policy.
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 on Friday.
In related development, Facebook has suspended former U.S. President Donald Trump, on Facebook and Instagram platforms for two years effective Jan. 7.
Facebook, in a statement by Nick Clegg, Vice-President of Global Affairs, cited “severe violation” after Capitol Hill riots of January 6 and that Trump’s accounts would only be reinstated if conditions permitted.
“Last month, the Oversight Board upheld Facebook’s suspension of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following his praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol on January 6.
“But in doing so, the board criticised the open-ended nature of the suspension, stating that “it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension”.”
“The board instructed us to review the decision and respond in a way that is clear and proportionate, and made a number of recommendations on how to improve our policies and processes,” it said.
“We are today announcing new enforcement protocols to be applied in exceptional cases such as this, and we are confirming the time-bound penalty consistent with those protocols which we are applying to Mr. Trump’s accounts.”
Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols, Facebook stated.
“We are suspending his accounts for two years, effective from the date of the initial suspension on January 7 this year.
“At the end of this period, we will look to experts to assess whether the risk to public safety has receded.
“We will evaluate external factors, including instances of violence, restrictions on peaceful assembly and other markers of civil unrest.”
Facebook stated that if the Oversight Board determined that there was still a serious risk to public safety, Facebook would extend the restriction for a set period of time and continue to re-evaluate until that risk had receded.
When the suspension is eventually lifted, there will be a strict set of rapidly escalating sanctions that will be triggered if Trump commits further violations in future, up to and including permanent removal of his pages and accounts, it added.
“In establishing the two year sanction for severe violations, we considered the need for it to be long enough to allow a safe period of time after the acts of incitement, to be significant enough to be a deterrent to Mr. Trump and others from committing such severe violations in future, and to be proportionate to the gravity of the violation itself.
“We are grateful that the Oversight Board acknowledged that our original decision to suspend Trump was right and necessary, in the exceptional circumstances at the time.
“But we absolutely accept that we did not have enforcement protocols in place adequate to respond to such unusual events. Now that we have them, we hope and expect they will only be applicable in the rarest circumstances.”
Nigeria suspends Twitter as Facebook Bans Trump for Two Years