Nigeria says it suspends Twitter after president’s publish was eliminated


Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Nigeria said on Friday it ceased Twitter’s activities indefinitely, two days after the social media giant removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish regional secessionists.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed said the government acted because of “the continued use of the platform for activities that can undermine Nigeria’s business existence”.

Mohammed gave neither the form of the suspension nor details of the undermining activities. His ministry also announced the blocking of Twitter on Twitter.

When asked about the details of the suspension, a ministerial councilor told Reuters, “Wait and see how things go.”

According to Reuters tests in Lagos and Abuja, in the early hours of Saturday morning, the Twitter website was inaccessible for some mobile operators in Nigeria, while the app and website were working for others.

Twitter is investigating the Nigerian government’s “deeply worrying” suspension of operations and “will provide updates as we know more,” the company said in a statement.

On Wednesday, the US tech firm said that Buhari’s Post had violated Twitter’s “Abusive Conduct” policy by threatening to punish groups held responsible for attacks on government buildings.

In April, the information minister reacted angrily when Twitter selected neighboring Ghana for its first African office. He said the company had been influenced by Nigerian media misrepresentations, including reports of raids on protests last year.

Protesters calling for police reform had used social media to organize, raise funds and share alleged evidence of police harassment. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted to encourage his followers to donate.

In the course of the protests, Mohammed called for “some sort of regulation” in social media to combat “fake news”.

A spokesman for Airtel, one of Nigeria’s largest wireless operators, declined on Friday to say whether the company had received any government orders to suspend it.

MTN, the largest mobile operator, did not respond to calls and a message asking for comment.

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