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Things You Probably Don't Know About the Suspension of Twitter in Nigeria

Kurtis Adigba Blog
Written by: Kurtis Adigba

Twitter is an international company with presence in 200 countries and territories.

It has operations in 35 countries, but it is not a global citizen with automatic rights in every country.

Given that it plays an outsized role in the affairs of countries outside its primary territory because of its reach, her operations and practices must be regulated by countries taking into consideration their realities.

The suspension or ban on Twitter in Nigeria has generated tons of negative and positive reactions from different people, countries, and organizations all over the world.

The truth however, is that Twitter and other social media platforms, are subject to certain rules and regulations in their country (countries) of origin.

They are answerable to Government institutions and regulatory authorities.

We are witnesses to the Congressional Hearings in the United States where the Chief Executive Officers of Twitter, Facebook, Google, and others, appeared before the US Congress to answer to Charge’s against their organizations for the role they played in the US elections and other issues bordering on anti-trust.

They are not rules-free entities.

In Nigeria, many commentators expressed worries about the impact of the suspension on the rights to freedom of Speech and Expression.

While it is true that the rights to freedom of Speech and Expression are guaranteed to Nigerians under the Constitution, Twitter is neither a Nigerian citizen nor a Nigerian company or entity and has no such right in Nigeria.

Twitter is not the only means by which Nigerians can exercise the right to freedom of Speech and Expression.

Recently, there was an attempt by the US government to end the operations of TikTok in the country directly sanctioned by former President Trump on ground that TT was a threat to the security of the United States.
The government decided that TT must be acquired by an American company to stay in business.

Where was the outrage then? Is it because Tik Tok is not an American company?

Pure hypocrisy!

Twitter is discriminatory and bias in her operations and lacks clearly defined policy and execution on what is acceptable and not.

Nothing objectify this position more than the claims by Twitter itself that certain tweets were deleted because people complained or objected to them.

If Twitter has a clear policy on standards, it does not have to wait for people to complain or protest against tweets that violates its standard before taking action.

It will be automatic.

So Twitter will delete a tweet for being hateful, inciting, and genocidal, but leaves another tweet containing and preaching the same things.

Twitter deleted a tweet by president Trump that it claimed encouraged violence and thus violated its community standards but left in place a tweet by Ayatollah Khameni that sought to do the same thing.

Twitter deleted a tweet by President Buhari, which was aimed at addressing the insecurity and lawlessness in a part of the country, caused and encouraged largely by the tweets on its website, but left the incendiary tweets in place and had to act only after its operation was suspended in Nigeria.

This is the double standards that is troubling to many people.

Twitter and other social media platforms have lended themselves to be used for trafficking fake news, and committing fraud, and spreading lies without taking responsibility.

This was the reason former president Trump sought an amendment to S. 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a law that protects social media companies from liabilities for contents on their platforms.

He wanted held liable for such contents and signed an Executive Order directing the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a Commerce agency to have the FCC rewrite S.230 of CDA.

While the optics may look bad for the government and the country -- the government has been accused of being intolerant and of muzzling the rights to free speech of some citizens, it must be stated clearly that the government has a duty to protect the country against physical and virtual invaders.

The government is already battling terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals with modest success, it cannot afford or allow another insurrection being fueled and sustained by toxic and incendiary tweets after the #Endsars protests which Twitter played an outsized role in trafficking lies, misinformation and disinformation.

It is gratifying that Government and Twitter are speaking in reconciliatory tones.

Hopefully, a common ground will be found and Twitter can resume her operation in Nigeria in compliance with extant rules in Nigeria.

I’m not swayed by the argument based on the rights to free Speech and Expression.

Twitter is not a Nigerian company and it is not registered in Nigeria.

Don't forget to share on your facebook timeline, thanks!

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