A large number of Nigerians logged on to their Twitter accounts on Saturday, the 5th of June 2021, to see the latest decree on the Twitter handle of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture announcing that Twitter had been banned in the country because they felt it was doing more harm than good to the country’s security. Pretty coincidental that this was happening just a few days after Twitter had taken down a tweet from the President’s Twitter handle, a tweet that had violated their policies, although the government has claimed that both situations were mutually exclusive.
This ban has been widely condemned by a lot of Nigerians, alongside a plethora of individuals and groups outside the country. Apart from the fact that it is seen as an abuse of the UN human rights charter, it is also quite regressive and seeks to undo a lot of the progress many Nigerians, especially the creatives, have made in the past few years since the launch of the platform.
One of the many ways this ban is doing harm to the Nigerian creatives is the way it’s brought digital marketing; influencer marketing and affiliate marketing functions to a halt. A large number of creatives used this platform to run marketing campaigns for various products, easily connecting with their target audience. The same applies to copywriters and strategists. This ban takes away all of that as there’s no one to market these products to anymore, thereby stopping the flow of ideas and funds from businesses to consumers.
Twitter also helped in publicizing crowd-funding campaigns. A lot of Nigerians are really just one sickness away from losing all their savings and turning to the public for succor because of how expensive healthcare is in the country. This platform for publicity has been taken away with the ban. This also affects the success and longevity of a lot of new startups in the Nigerian space that are being denied the opportunity to showcase and in the long run, scale, their business as they’re usually unable to avoid advertising on mainstream platforms like the Television and Radio.
Another way this Twitter ban seems to be frustrating creatives is how it’s also heavily affected small and medium enterprises in the country. A lot of these SMEs are owned by self-employed Nigerians who have ventured into crafts like tailoring, cooking, and so on. They often get their direct customers from the Twitter timeline; this has been curtailed with the ban and they have to work thrice as hard to get patronage outside of Twitter. Twitter also granted quick access to the customer care centers of a lot of Nigerian companies. Staff were usually employed solely to manage customer issues reported on Twitter but with the ban, it is only natural that these people would be retrenched and sent back to the labour market that is already saturated.