The Effect of Twitter Ban on the Socio-Economic Well-Being of Nigerians

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

The Effect of Twitter Ban on the Socio-Economic Well-Being of Nigerians

Background to the study

Nigeria’s decision to suspend Twitter indefinitely could backfire for the government and cost the country economically in terms of new investments into its technology sector. The Nigerian government suspended Twitter on June 4. The official press release gave only a vague justification, citing threats to “Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

While only a minority of Nigerians use Twitter, they form part of the most vocal and politically active segment of the population. Many young people have used Twitter and other social media recently to organise anti-government protests. And Nigeria has been among the best-performing African countries in attracting investments for technology start-up business. The ban could threaten that status.

The government made little effort to hide the likely main reason for the ban: the social media giant’s decision to delete a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari just days before. In the tweet, Buhari seemed to threaten violent retaliation against a southeastern secessionist group’s alleged recent attacks on government facilities and personnel. Twitter claimed the message had violated its rules against “abusive behaviour”.

The move angered many in the Nigerian government. Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed criticised “double standards” and complained that Twitter had not deleted missives from a separatist leader. He also alleged that it supported the 2020 #EndSARS movement against police brutality. The potential that social media could help mobilise such a large, youth-driven protest movement sent shudders throughout the ruling establishment. Officials might hope a ban squelches a growing protest movement against rising insecurity.
The deletion of Buhari’s tweet also came on the heels of Twitter’s April 2021 announcement that it would be setting up its first African office in Accra, not Lagos. In its justification, Twitter cited Ghana’s support for “free speech, online freedom, and the open internet”. The choice came despite the fact that Nigeria probably has more Twitter users – 40 million, by one count – than Ghana has people.
The shutdown will be hard to enforce. It is also likely to be unpopular. And it could have dire consequences for Nigeria’s fragile democratic institutions and COVID-battered economy.

Statement of the Problem

The widespread use of VPNs would come at significant costs. Poorer Nigerians are likely turn to free VPNs instead of fee-based ones that are more secure. This will expose them to data theft and other forms of hacking.

Beyond being an annoyance, this could significantly hamper economic productivity. Nigeria’s economy and even government have become increasingly reliant on digital media. Some noted the irony that the government announced its ban on Twitter with a tweet. NetBlocks, which tracks internet governance, estimated that each day of the Twitter shutdown will cost the Nigerian economy over 2 billion naira ($6 million US).
Digital media are essential for information exchange, marketing, customer service, and remote work, especially during public health and safety emergencies. Shutdowns can slow commerce, cut productivity and ultimately cost jobs.
In the longer term, the ban – even if only brief – could seriously harm Nigeria’s ability to attract investment to its otherwise-promising digital economy. Investors may turn to markets without the threat of sudden regulatory disruptions to the digital economy. In other words, Twitter’s choice of Ghana would only be the beginning.

Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to examine The Effect of Twitter Ban on the Socio-Economic Well-Being of Nigerians
The study is guided by the following three research objectives

  1. To examine the economic impact of twitter ban on Nigeria business envrironment
  2. To examine the social impact of twitter ban on the livelihood of Nigerians
  3. To analyze whether twitter ban in Nigeria trampled on the constitutional rights of Nigerians

Research Questions

  1. What are the economic impact of twitter ban on Nigeria business envrironment?
  2. what are the social impact of twitter ban on the livelihood of Nigerians?
  3. Do twitter ban in Nigeria trampled on the constitutional rights of Nigerians?
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