By Daniel Bwala Esq.
Let’s give a context to this issue, Twitter at the weekend Deleted the tweet of the president of NIGERIA, But before then, Twitter’s attention was drawn to multiple tweets that’s capable of destroying the country because they are tweets that incites violence, Twitter responded that they have reviewed those tweets and that those tweets do not violate their rule. So clearly by that indication, Twitter expressed and demonstrated Bias, hence the govt of NIGERIA decided that Twitter must respond to the Take down request or they will be suspended, a request Twitter never responded to or honoured and they got suspended.
Questions comes to mind on this very issue,
• is the step taken by the Nigeria govt right ? YES.
• Is it lawful ? YES and these are the Pros:
In 2011, after the wake of riot in London which broke out and took over major cities, to the point that people were stealing and looting shops , a riot which grew in peckinham, Louisiana down to Manchester in Berminham, it was that period the prime minister David Cameron told Twitter that if they do not respond to the request of the United kingdom to taking down of certain account and post, they will be shut down, a request Twitter obeyed that’s why they are still operational in the UK.
Furthermore in France, after the anti-Semitism racial tweets by unidentified individuals on Twitter, the govt of France asked that Twitter take down those accounts and post, Twitter responded to some and refused some, this biased behavior prompted the Association of Jewish students to getting a court order mandating Twitter to release the PII that’s ” Personal identifiable Information” about those who hide under pseudo account or name, twiter responded that they do not have office in France or employees , therefore the issue of jurisdiction will not have effect on them, that tells you the reason why they don’t want to have offices in Nigeria so as to avoid strict liabilities on them.
In India, Twitter tolerated a tweet by a separatist leader who was creating confusion and trouble in India, the govt of India specifically told Twitter to take down specific accounts and post, failure to comply, they will be banned , Twitter obeyed some and refused some and the Govt of India decided to suspend them. The suspension of Twitter in India brought in another app by the countrys software engineers called KOO APP. an app which is similar to Twitter.
In the USA, after the 2016 Elections that brought Donald Trump, the democrat led Congress saw a data analysis released by Oxford University, on how some social media owners were manipulating Algorithm and changing public perception by influencing elections, the Congress men conducted an investigation hearing and emphatically warned Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social media owners to stop the manipulation and take down certain tweets that are offensive otherwise they were going to be banned , a warning they all obeyed.
In the case of NIGERIA, same request was made to Twitter, instead of Twitter to react to the issues raised by the NIGERIAN govt, they made a derogatory statement on their handle which states thus: ” @MuhamaduBuhari, we don’t know who you are and the country you lead, we came across a tweet that offends our rule and we decided to take it down”.
The above statement by Twitter made me ponder; if you don’t know as company a countrys president with over 30m subscribers of it’s Citizens, then you should be the most dummest and daft person on Earth or an agent of foreign forces trying to destroy NIGERIA.
On different platforms, Jack Dosie, founder of Twitter has demonstrated that he’s a person of interest who participated in the End SARS protest sometime in October 2020, by retweeting a tweet made by a protester to raising funds to run the protest, jack is not a citizen of NIGERIA, does not have business interest in nigeria and has no basis to take part in any protest in Nigeria but he did. That’s to show his interest in causing crisis in Nigeria, but this same Jack in the case of USA classified the protesters at the Capitol in January 6th as insurrectionists, so this double standards that’s being brought to developing countries needs to be checked with facts. Even the statement of the European Union, America and Canada etc must be seen within the lights of fact and against evidence. We agree that social media platforms can do the following :
1) Advance Democracy
2) Boost trade
3) Shape public Engagement, but were we have a point of departure is that the same request they made to Twitter when it was threatening them was same request that NIGERIA made and until Twitter abides by that, NIGERIA will keep Twitter suspended .
In summary, it is convenient for them to talk about freedom of speech now because their country so not involved, but when it was , they demanded and Twitter obeyed.