On the 4th day of June 2021, the Federal government of Nigeria banned Nigerians from the use of Twitter after one of the tweets of the President was taken down. According to Jack, he said the tweet of the President violated the Platforms policy. While on the other hand, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria stressed that there was persistent use of the platform by the masses to undermine the countries ‘corporate existence’.
Since the ban on the 4th of June, there have been complaints of how the ban has affected the economy and the source of income of some people who depend on the platform for their source of livelihood.
In addition, influencers marketing that has grown over a decade will be disrupted, even though they still use other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Secondly, small medium enterprises will experience little or no sales since most of them rely solely on social media to run their business of which twitter is one of them.
The world has emerged to become a global village and the internet is the life and village of the globe in cyberspace, and in this village termed internet, there are several markets called social media where business transactions are carried out daily. Advertisements, announcements, information are passed, employments got, and relationships built, etc.
A lot of businesses depend on social media to start, grow, and even survive. Twitter is one of the most reliable and trusted social media network in Nigeria. A lot of people have created a career on the platform. Twitter has become a place where many Nigerians earn a living. Twitter has become a channel for marketing activities for some businesses in Nigeria. Some businesses cannot survive without Twitter, while some will struggle to survive. The Nigerian government makes revenue from tax paid directly or indirectly from people that earn a living on Twitter and other social media platforms.
However, this ban puts all of that at risk, without access to social media to run a marketing campaign or build relationships with their customers. Therefore, if people’s livelihood on Twitter is halt by the ban, it means the government herself will suffer because it will affect her revenue from a lot of people that have built their career and livelihood on Twitter.
The Guardian newspaper reported on Monday, June 7, 2021, that Nigeria’s Economy suffers N7.5b in 3 days of the ban according to netblock.org a mapping internet freedom platform, if its statistics is to be relied upon. In the case of Nigeria shutting down Twitter, the platform says the country’s economy would be drawn back by N2,177,089,051 in just one day. Now multiply it by the days in which the ban will last. That is a whooping sum Nigeria will be losing and a lot of people will lose jobs and run out of businesses. People will become jobless, unemployed, and stranded, thereby causing social vices, criminality, kidnappings, robbery, and insecurity in general. Consequently, investor confidence will weaken and this will cause a huge setback on Nigeria’s economy. Therefore, the impact of the ban is high, this is because the number of users on the platform on the African continent is Nigerians numbering 40 million users, and this translates to substantial ad revenues. It has also become a community for business owners to share ideas with their clients, and address certain complaints to achieve optimal service delivery where necessary. A global internet monitor said each hour of twitter clampdown costs Nigeria about 250,000 US dollars bringing the daily loss to N2.5b daily.
Furthermore, the ban on Twitter infringes on the rights of the people to express their feelings towards the actions of the government in a democratic atmosphere.
Finally, the ban on Twitter highlights a global issue of big tech vs National governments to political issues.
According to Nairametrics, a Joint Statement From The Diplomatic Missions Of Canada, The European Union (Delegation To Nigeria), The Republic Of Ireland, The United Kingdom, And The United States Of America was made to the Nigerian Government to redress its actions.
“The diplomatic missions of Canada, the European Union (Delegation to Nigeria), the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America convey our disappointment over the Government of Nigeria’s announcement suspending #Twitter and proposing registration requirements for other social media.
We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as around the world and these rights apply online as well as offline.
Banning systems of expression is not the answer. These measures inhibit access to information and commerce at precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue and expression of opinions, as well as share vital information in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less, communication to accompany the concerted efforts of Nigeria’s citizens in fulsome dialogue toward unity, peace, and prosperity.”
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