There are many things to think about when it comes to President Muhammadu Buhari on Twitter. In particular, his tweets regarding secessionist groups in the southeast could be a threat to the Nigerian government. We also look at how a relationship with Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Facebook, has impacted the Nigerian government.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet threatens punishment for secessionist groups in the southeast
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria sent out a tweet that threatened punishment for secessionist groups in the southeast. The tweet was aimed at the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a group that has been calling for the secession of the southeast and the establishment of a sovereign state.
Buhari’s tweet was criticized by many Twitter users. They alleged that it was a poorly written message and did not contain any useful information. Some social media users even said the tweet was a scam.
Buhari’s tweet was deleted by Twitter, which said the message violated its policy against abusive behavior. Although the company did not name the president in its apology, it had a good reason for deleting the message.
The message included a quote from an old-fashioned adage. “The quickest way to destroy a tree is to slap it.” This is a metaphor for a pro-Biafra secessionist group’s plan to slap a country.
IPOB, which has been trying to rekindle sentiments about Biafra since 2016, has faced arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial executions. In response, security forces have taken action, with the most recent incidents taking place in May 2021.
Nigerian government’s relationship with Jack Dorsey
Twitter’s relationship with the Nigerian government has been awkward for a while. Earlier this year, the social media platform was banned in the country. It had also been accused of being involved in a campaign to remove President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Nigerian government suspended the use of Twitter in the country on June 4. According to information Minister Lai Mohammed, Mr Dorsey had raised funds to help sponsor a protest group.
During the #EndSARS protests last October, the Twitter platform was used as a rallying point for the protests. The movement began as a reaction to police brutality and systemic abuse of power. As it developed, it became a confrontation between the political classes.
Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter, supported the #EndSARS protests. He encouraged people to donate to the cause. And he gave a special emoji to the hashtag.
A special emoji was created to support the demonstrations. It features a tight fist embedded in the national colors of Nigeria.
Facebook’s ‘glorification of violence’ policy
Facebook is no longer able to allow Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to play on the social network. This is a direct result of the country’s tumultuous political climate.
Earlier this week, Mr Buhari tweeted a message that was deleted by Facebook. The tweet contained references to the ‘Nigerian Civil War’ from 1967 to 1970. However, the tweet was interpreted by Nigerians as a threat against Indigenous People of Biafra.
The same day, Twitter also removed a tweet from Mr Buhari. While the tweet was not a violation of its own rules, the actions by both platforms were in the spirit of the Facebook DIO policy.
The “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations” policy – or DIO – lists several entities that threaten bloodshed, both domestically and abroad. These include hundreds of musical acts, hospitals, a medical university working on an Iran homegrown vaccine, airlines, and long-dead historical figures.
While the DIO list does not explicitly say what constitutes a “glorification of violence”, Facebook’s own documentation does. It states that “if a group or individual has been designated by Facebook as a ‘terrorist’ or ‘dangerous’ entity, then any commentary regarding them or their activities may be considered a threat.”
Unlike the aforementioned rule, however, the Facebook rules are opaque to users. Aside from a few examples of prohibited content, there is no clear definition of what constitutes a “terrorist” or a “dangerous” individual or organization.
Nigerian tech companies must be alive to their responsibilities
Nigeria has become a hub of the technology industry on the African continent. In fact, it has the second-highest density of tech startups in the continent. As such, tech companies in the country must be aware of their responsibilities. The government is also making moves to ensure the safety of its citizens online.
The Nigerian Startup Act requires a startup to meet certain conditions before they can operate. For example, the startup must be registered as a Limited Liability Company and have a local shareholding by one or more Nigerian founders. It also must have a goal of innovation, improvement or commercialization.
To avoid legal issues, Nigerian online businesses must abide by all the regulations in place. They must also appoint a designated representative in the country and provide all necessary information. This includes information on harmful accounts and content. Online companies must also delete information that violates the law.
The National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship is a governing body made up of the president, ministers, and stakeholders. The council formulates general policy guidelines and monitors the regulatory framework.