Twitter said a free and open internet was “a fundamental human right in modern society” on Saturday morning after the Nigerian government banned access to the social media giant following a dispute with its president – even as critics say he’s removing conservative content and banning his own. users.
Twitter deleted a fiery tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari that many saw as a veiled threat to violent separatists in the southeast of the country – then his government’s information wing responded by banning the media platform social aspects of the country.
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“The federal government has indefinitely suspended the operations of the microblogging and social networking service Twitter in Nigeria,” the country’s Federal Ministry of Information and Culture tweeted Friday evening.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, also announced that the government will begin licensing social media platforms and “OTT”, or over-the-top operations, which deliver content directly. to viewers via the Internet.
“We are deeply concerned about the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria,” Twitter’s public policy division responded. “Access to the free Internet and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society. We will work to restore access for all in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world. #KeepitOn. “
The statement immediately drew responses from Twitter users who noted that the social media giant’s own policies allowed users to be suspended and banned, including former President Donald Trump.
“Access to the free Internet and #OpenInternet is an essential human right in modern society … unless you’re Donald Trump. Or a report on Hunter Biden’s laptop. Or discuss biology like. Or Iran’s murderous dictator. Or a Chinese Communist Party peon lies about COVID, “Tory author Liz Wheeler wrote in response to the Twitter tweet.
Another user tweeted the meme of a comic book hero sweating which button to choose – “Accessing Twitter is a human right” or “Ban these accounts for saying things I don’t like.”
Several other users have expressed similar sentiments.
The company has also been accused by Republican lawmakers of “banning conservatives from the shadows” or of using an algorithm that suppresses the visibility of their tweets.
Twitter also restricted the New York Post’s account to a story on Hunter Biden just days before the 2020 presidential election, then backtracked after the story verified.
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And yet, FOX Business reported last month that a network of pro-Iranian Twitter accounts received numerous anti-Semitic hashtags as violence between Israel and Hamas reached its highest level since 2014.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Buhari’s deleted tweet came in response to arson attacks on government offices and police stations and appeared to threaten the Igbo ethnic activists believed to be behind them.
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“Many of those who behave badly today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of life during the Nigerian civil war,” he wrote in the now deleted tweet. “Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who have been through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
The Nigerian president was a military officer in the fight against Igbo separatists who wanted to establish an independent nation of Biafra in the country’s bloody civil war. Over a million people died in the conflict between 1967 and 1970.
Twitter rules prohibit tweets that encourage or threaten violence.
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