The Nigeria Twitter ban, which hit N2,464,980,000 ($6million) in daily economic loss following the government shutdown of the social media service, continues as businesses resumed Tuesday after the Democracy Day holiday.
The Federal Government on June 4 indefinitely suspended Twitter services in Nigeria following the deletion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet by the social media service, in which he threatened a secessionist group in the country.
But the Twitter ban has continued to take an economic toll now estimated at N2,464,980,000 ($6 million) daily, market and consumer data provider, Statista says.
Twitter has huge local followership and is ranked among Nigeria’s most popular social media platforms at sixth position, with WhatsApp, which is owned by Google, being the most used by the connected population as of Q3 2020.
“As of the third quarter of 2020, WhatsApp was the most popular social media in Nigeria. The platform was mentioned by 93 percent of internet users aged 16 to 64 years. Facebook and Youtube followed, being used respectively by 86 percent and 82 percent of the individuals with access to the internet. In 2020, the number of social media users in Nigeria reached roughly 28 million”, Statista says.
Nigeria Twitter ban: Measuring the economic impact
“The decision of the Nigerian government to ban Twitter might have severe economic costs. Per day, the ban is estimated to have an impact of around six million U.S. dollars. Twitter has been suspended in Nigeria on June 5, 2021. Apparently, the reason behind this ban is the social media platform’s decision to delete a tweet by president Muhammadu Buhari just some days before classified by Twitter as “abusive behavior”, the consumer data provider says.
Meanwhile, as businesses resumed from the holiday set aside as part of activities to mark the June 12 Democracy Day, the top business users of Twitter have stayed off the social media platform following the government suspension order.
According to Technology Times review of Twitter activities, Nigeria’s biggest telcos, MTN Nigeria, Glo Mobile, Airtel Nigeria, 9mobile, and Ntel have stayed off the social media platform, in apparent compliance with the ban.
Same for banks, who like telcos and other organisations, are among the top users of Twitter to connect Nigerian customers with marketing information, customer service, announcements, among other services.
At Q1 2021, Nigeria remains home to a bustling telecoms market accounting for 192,413,613 (100.80%) active phone lines, 144,949,194 active internet connections, and 78,613,689 (41.18%) broadband connections, according to official market information by NCC. Most of these connected Nigerians access social media platforms mainly through their mobile phones and devices.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Information and Culture Minister who announced the Twitter ban says the government took the decision because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
According to him, the government’s charge to Twitter and other OTT (over the top) and social media services is that they must register their business and obtain local operating licences, moving forward.
The Minister who alleges that Twitter “does not mean well in Nigeria” says the interest of the social media service is “inimical to our growth.”
According to the Minister, “To do business in Nigeria, they must register as Nigerian companies. Two, they must be licensed. Three, they will have to refrain from using the platform for activities that are inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria.”