The news of the Twitter ban in Nigeria dominated conversations over the weekend, and for good reason too. Twitter has been the leading source for reporting Nigeria’s insecurity in real-time, as poor emergency services means Nigerians use the platform not just for social networking, but for alerting security forces to cases of insecurity, especially with rising incidents of armed banditry and herdsmen attacks in various parts of the country. It has also been used severally to facilitate fundraising and draw the attention of leaders and citizens to pressing national issues.
“Twitter is by far the most useful social media platform for Nairametrics, accounting for more than 90% of page views and visits,” Emmanuel Dan-Awoh, SEO Analyst at Nairametrics, said last year on the impact of Twitter on news reporting in Nigeria.
He added that Twitter only commanded 21% usage of Nigeria’s 82 million internet subscribers. Facebook led with 55.94%, while Instagram and YouTube were at 5.02% and 3.72% respectively.
The exclusive report also revealed that Twitter was not only the main medium for receiving and filtering news, but also had added advantages to the Nigerian Government, stating that: “Official communication still leans more towards traditional media, but the use of social media by government agencies is growing while the use of traditional media is stagnating.”
Although more Nigerians are on Facebook than Twitter, the open nature of the latter’s app features makes it easier for the government to interact and communicate with citizens, and also for citizens to spread information rapidly and debunk fake news.
With the heightened insecurity situation in the country, it is counterproductive for the government to remove an important tool for disseminating emergency information and communicating with citizens.