Nigeria Bans Twitter Just Days After the Company Deleted One of Its President’s Tweets

Bayo Omoboriowo, Nigeria State House/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.In a move that would make Donald Trump’s mouth water, Nigeria banned Twitter within its borders—just days after the social media company deleted a tweet written by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nigerian information minister Lai Mohammed said that the move was the result of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence” but did not explain specifics of the suspension, including how long it would last.
Millions of Nigerians use the platform, and some used virtual private networks to bypass the ban and post about their frustrations on Twitter.
In the deleted tweet from Tuesday, Buhari compared Nigeria’s civil war decades ago to attacks on offices of the country’s national electoral commission. According to the People’s Gazette, a Nigerian news outlet, many people saw the tweet as a threat of genocide against the country’s Igbo people. Twitter said that the tweet violated its “abusive behavior” policy.
The company said in a statement to Reuters that it is looking into the “deeply concerning” suspension in Nigeria.
Nigerian officials had previously criticized Twitter. In April, Mohammed expressed frustration when the company chose Ghana for its first African office, and called for “regulation” to deal with “fake news” after people in the country documented and protested police brutality on the platform.