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Nigeria’s Twitter ban is a misplaced priority


In early June 2021, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter after the platform deleted one of his tweets and temporarily suspended his account. The tweet pertained to Nigerian secessionists and to treating “those who misbehave today” in “the language they will understand,” infringing on Twitter user rules prohibiting content that threatens or incites violence. Despite the ban, many Nigerians still have access to the site using virtual private networks (VPN) and can share their opinion on other apps, like Indian-based microblogging site Koo.

The deletion of the tweet is part of a larger conversation around the role of social media in politics and the national conversation. Indeed, in recent years, the world has seen social media platforms like Twitter impact democracy and politics, social movements, foreign relations, businesses, and economies around the world.

President Buhari’s retaliation…

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