Nigeria axes Twitter for deleting president’s tweet

It’s usually Twitter suspending people, but Nigeria has turned that around by banning the social media platform.

The move comes two days after the company removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional secessionists in the West African country.

Earlier, Information Minister Lai Mohammed said the government had acted because of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.

Twitter’s website was inaccessible in Nigeria on some mobile carriers early on Saturday, while its app and website worked on others, according to Reuters tests in Lagos and Abuja.

Twitter is investigating its “deeply concerning” suspension of operations by the Nigerian government, and “will provide updates when we know more”, the company said in a statement.

Nigerian telecoms firms shut down access to Twitter after a regulatory directive, an industry body says, a day after the government said it would suspend the US social media giant indefinitely.

“We, the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) wish to confirm that our members have received formal instructions from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to suspend access to Twitter,” the industry body said.

“As an industry, we endorse the position of the United Nations that the rights held by people offline must also be protected online,” ALTON said.

On Wednesday, the US tech firm said Buhari’s post threatening to punish groups blamed for attacks on government buildings had violated Twitter’s “abusive behaviour” policy.

Demonstrators calling for police reform had used social media to organise, raise money and share alleged proof of police harassment. Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, tweeted to encourage his followers to donate.

After the protests, Mr Mohammed  called for “some form of regulation” on social media to combat “fake news”.

-with AAP

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