TOPLINE Nigeria blocked access to Twitter in the country indefinitely on Friday evening, shortly after the company deleted a tweet by the country’s president, adding Africa’s most populous country to a short list of nations that have barred their citizens from using Twitter:
Nigeria: The government claimed Twitter was banned for “undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence,” and the Ministry of Justice has promised to prosecute violators.
China: Twitter and several other Western social media networks are barred from operating in China, and authorities have spent several years reportedly cracking down on people who manage to circumvent the Twitter ban.
North Korea: The government generally doesn’t allow its citizens to access foreign websites, instead confining computer users to a heavily restricted and walled-off intranet.
Iran: Twitter and Facebook have been off-limits since 2009, amid protests and brutal crackdowns following former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election win, though many Iranians use VPNs to dodge their country’s internet restrictions.
Temporary Or Uncertain Bans: Egypt cut off access to Twitter during the 2011 Arab Spring protests, Turkey banned Twitter for two weeks in 2014, Uganda cut off social media ahead of an election earlier this year, Pakistan has sporadically blocked social media sites for brief periods, and Turkmenistan has restricted access to Twitter according to the U.S. State Department.
Nigeria’s faceoff with Twitter started earlier this week, when President Muhammadu Buhari threatened to deal with separatist groups accused of violence “in the language they understand,” a reference to the country’s brutal civil war more than 50 years ago. Twitter blocked Buhari from tweeting for 12 hours and ordered him to delete the post, which it claimed violated the site’s rules, the BBC reported.
Many governments with Twitter bans still use the social media platform, often to disseminate information to foreign audiences. Chinese diplomats and staffers regularly use Twitter to lash out at the country’s critics, Iran’s president and foreign minister are both active on the site, and Nigeria announced its decision to ban Twitter via tweet.
Buhari is the latest head of state to face sanctions from Twitter. Earlier this year, the company banned former President Donald Trump and deleted an account ostensibly linked to Iran’s supreme leader. Likewise, Facebook said Friday it will stop giving deference to politicians when deciding whether to delete newsworthy content that violates its rules.
Nigeria Bans Twitter After President’s Tweet Is Deleted (New York Times)
By Joe Walsh, Forbes Staff