After Nation's 'Deeply Concerning' Move, a Twitter Probe

Nigeria has suspended social media platform indefinitely after president's tweet was removed
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2021 9:15 AM CDT
After Nation's 'Deeply Concerning' Move, a Twitter Probe
In this image made from video, Muhammadu Buhari, president of Nigeria is seen.   (UNTV via AP)

On Wednesday, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari saw one of his tweets removed, after he threatened to punish secessionists in the region. Two days later, the country's Federal Ministry of Information and Culture put up its own tweet, with an abrupt announcement. "The Federal Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria," the ministry posted, with agency chief Alhaji Lai Mohammed noting the suspension took place due to "the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria's corporate existence." When pressed for details on the move, a ministry aide told Reuters, "Wait and see how things will turn out."

The news outlet notes that users on certain mobile carriers in Nigeria couldn't access Twitter as of Saturday morning, though the platform's website and app continued to work for others. Representatives from at least two of the nation's largest mobile carriers either didn't respond to calls or messages seeking comments from Reuters, or declined to comment further. BBC reporters had similar struggles trying to get onto Twitter. NPR reports on the varying reactions of locals to the news, with some shrugging their shoulders at the announcement—they say they'll just use virtual private networks to gain access to the social media platform—while more than one person made fun of how the announcement was circulated. "You're using Twitter to suspend Twitter? Are you not mad?" one wrote. In a statement, Twitter says it's investigating the "deeply concerning" suspension and "will provide updates when we know more," per Reuters. (More Nigeria stories.)

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