Nigeria Bans Twitter, As Social Media Escalate Censorship
Twitter, as we know, decided to ban former President Donald Trump from using its social platform for time memorial, but Facebook, which suspended Trump’s accounts on Jan 7, 2021, has now decided that a permanent ban is too harsh a penalty, and has agreed to reduce his sentence to just two years. After that time, if Facebook determines that the former President of the United States no longer poses a “serious risk to public safety”, it will “graciously” lift the restrictions. That decision was announced by the former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nick Clegg, who also happens to be Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs!
When a President of the most powerful nation in the world can be so easily censured for “politically incorrect” statements, what chance do the leaders of smaller countries have to make themselves heard? Well, Nigeria has just found out. On June 2, Twitter deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari, in which he warned that armed arsonists who were attacking electoral offices were creating conditions like that of the disastrous civil war in the 1960s. That tweet, according to the private platform, violated its “abusive behavior” policy. The Nigerian government responded by blocking Twitter throughout the country.
Nigerian Information Minister Lai Mohammed pointed to the political motivation of the social network’s action, noting that “When people were burning police stations and killing policemen in Nigeria” Twitter called it “the right to protest”, but when the riots took place on Capitol Hill in Washington, it was called “insurrection”.
Twitter responded to the blocking of its platform with typical arrogance, claiming that “free and open Internet is an essential human right in modern society.” Free and open internet, that is, for those whom Twitter chooses –and that overrides the assumed freedom of speech for Presidents.