Literature Review on Twitter Ban in Nigeria


History of twiiter ban in Nigeria

It was on Friday June 5, 2021, through the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Nigerian government announced its decision to suspend the operations of social media platform Twitter in the country indefinitely.

The statement, made by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and signed off by his media aide Segun Adeyemi, could tell telecom’s in the country prevent Nigerians from using Twitter.

The Ministry said “The Federal Government has suspended indefinitely the operations of the micro-blogging and social networking service Twitter in Nigeria. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”

Twitter and Method

The microblogging site Twitter lets people post quick 140-character updates, or ‘tweets’, to a network of followers. Twitter asks participants ‘What’s happening?’ resulting in a constantly-updated stream of short messages ranging from the mundane to breaking news, shared links, and thoughts on life. In Twitter’s directed model of friendship, users choose others to ‘follow’ in their stream, and each user has his or her own group of ‘followers’. There is neither a technical requirement nor social expectation of reciprocity (particularly with famous people, although this differs by user group). Tweets can be posted and read from the web, SMS, or third-party clients for desktop computers, smartphones, and other devices. This integration allows for instant postings of photos, on-the-ground reports, and quick replies to other users. The site launched in 2006 and broke into the mainstream in 2008–2009, when user accounts and media attention exponentially increased. Twitter had approximately 18.2 million users in May 2009 (Nielsen Company, 2009), increasing to 27.2 million by January 2010 (Quantcast Corporation, 2010). As of 2010, the most-followed Twitter users are well-known organizations like CNN and Whole Foods, very famous people and public figures, from President Barack Obama to actor Ashton Kutcher and pop star Britney Spears. While Twitter can be used as a broadcast medium, the dialogic nature of Twitter and its ability to facilitate conversation has contributed substantially to its popularity.


This popularity has contributed to media fascination with the site. Unlike individuals famous primarily for their affiliation with social media properties, such as Tila Tequila on MySpace or Tay Zonday on YouTube, Twitter attracts actors, pop stars, authors, politicians, and others with established fame, such as Oprah Winfrey, Senator John McCain, Shaquille O’Neal and Weird Al. Although people known primarily for their online presence, like marketer Pistachio and video blogger iJustine, are well-represented on Twitter, the most-followed Twitter users are, for the most part, the conventionally famous.


Given this, we used Twitter to understand how celebrity is practiced through interactions between famous people and fans, friends, and other practitioners on Twitter. Part of the appeal of Twitter, as we will discuss, is the perception of direct access to a famous person, particularly ‘insider’ information, first-person pictures, and opinionated statements. Those celebrities who use Twitter primarily to ‘broadcast’ publicity information are seen as less authentic than those using the tool for dialogue and engagement with fans. One of our first methodological tasks was to work out who authored accounts of famous people


Media uses and gratification theory

Media uses and gratification theory have been widely used to explain social media. According to the theory, consumers actively seek out media to satisfy either utilitarian or hedonics needs (Taylor et al., 2013) Taylor et al. (2011), categorized these hedonic and utilitarian motives into structural dimensions ( using media to fill empty surroundings by seeking information or entertainment) and relationship based dimensions ( using media to facilitate interpersonal relationships) Taylor et al (211) notes that users not only  sometimes actively seek out advertising content they also participate in the dissemination of the advertising to other consumers. The theory posits that media users are driven by the need to expose themselves to media based on their needs and gratification seeking motives.

According to wood (2011), the assumption inherent in media use and gratification theory  is that people are active agents who chase form among media to  gratify themselves.  Wood (2011), explained that we use media to gain information, to alleviate loneliness, to divert us form problems and so forth. The theory therefore assumes that people exercise control over interaction with mediated mass communication. The uses and gratification attempts to explain what social and psychological needs motivate an audience to select particular media channels and content choices.


Zhang et al (2011), observed the media uses and gratification theory has been widely applied to investigate audience gratification in a variety of channels  and  content, including print media television and pagers. Some scholars proposed that the perceived gratification of online news was entertainment, interpersonal communication, information learning and surveillance. Okazaki (2012) posited that surveillance, leisure, information, seeking and sharing cognitive stimulations, social identity, self-expression, social presentation, companionship, passing time and voyeurism could all be relevant factors to help explain digital social media use and how consumers may process advertising messages displayed on such social media networks. Tayor et al (2011) noted that the  social network advertising information that is exchanged may become a source of conversational, deliberative, humorous and otherwise memorable communication exchange.

These authors hypothesize that a communication outcome should bring people closer together and in the process generate gratification, strengthen key primary reference group affiliations and enhance attitude towards social media advertising, consistent with uses  and gratification theory. Wood (2011), pointed out that social media availed  nearly  infinite choices for pleasure, information, and conversation. Hutton and foredeck  evaluated social media and concluded that when  consumers engage socially online they  do so to meet certain needs.

Passive to active behavior’s 

Hutton and Fosdick (2011), propose that one way to view the various social media platforms is through a lens of passive to active behavior. According to Hutton  and  Fosdick (2011) passive social media activities such as online reading and viewing for example, characteristically demand less involvement and cognitive processing than such actives pursuits as writing, creating video and posting to sites. That is consumers  are  likely to be more involved in passive rather than active usage largely because such activities demand less conscious effort.

Media substitution hypothesis


Another theoretical proposition discussed on literature is media substitution hypothesis (Salween Garrison & Driscoll 2004). It suggests that when a new media channel  is capable of providing superior content, technical benefits and cost efficiency then this substitution mechanism takes place, as the new media channel is considered more functionally desirable than the old media.

In line with this hypothesis Lin and Atkins (2006), argue that when consumers are willing to be venturesome in their shopping behaviors, they choose to use electronic interactive shopping behaviors through electronic interactive shopping channels to make purchases, they may intentionally otherwise displace their non-interactive shopping channels.

Social network theory


According to Adkins (2008), the social network theory at its core deals with social relationships in terms of nodes and ties. It is broadly a branch  of social science that  applies to a wide range of human organizations from small groups of people to entire nations. Kilduff and Tsai (2003), postulate the concept of ties between two actors as the most basic concept in social networks. Muhkenyee (2006), used the social network theory to locate the use of social media for social interaction in the structural configurations of individual social network. Consistent with the information role of social media as suggested by (Trepte, 2011). Dahlen et al (2010), observed that the social network theory and the ever-increasing emotional connection with companies allow for the element of advocacy and referral to create a “buzz around a company and its products. Social networks have also been used to examine how organizations interact with each other, characterizing the many informal connections that link executives together, as well as associations and connections between individual employees at different organizations. For example, power within organizations often comes more from the degree to which an individual within a network is at the centre of many relationships than actual job title. Social networks also play a key role in hiring, in business success, and in job performance. Networks provide ways for companies to gather information, deter competition, and collude in setting prices or policies.


Several theories in consumer behavior literature and media discourse have been extended to explain the concept of social media. Discussed in this review, was media uses and gratification theory, social networks theory, the theory of planned behavior, passive to active behavior lenses and media substation hypothesis.


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