Fake News Among Reasons For Suspending Twitter In Nigeria – Presidency
TECH DIGEST – The temporary suspension of Twitter is not just a response to the removal of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s post, claims the Presidency.
In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, he said there has been a litany of problems with the Twitter in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it have had real world violent consequences.
“All the while, the company has escaped accountability”, Shehu said.
Continuing, the SSA Media and Publicity to the President, said, “Nevertheless, the removal of President Buhari’s tweet was disappointing. The censoring seemed based on a misunderstanding of the challenges Nigeria faces today.
“The President in his address at the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA in 2019 said “the world was shocked and startled by the massacre in New Zealand by a lone gunman taking the lives of 50 worshippers.”
“This and similar crimes which have been fueled by social media networks risk seeping into the fabric of an emerging digital culture.
“Major tech companies must be alive to their responsibilities. They cannot be allowed to continue to facilitate the spread of religious, racist, xenophobic and false messages capable of inciting whole communities against each other, leading to loss of many lives. This could tear some countries apart.
“President Buhari has therefore been warning against social media’s disruptive and divisive influences and the government’s action is not a knee-jerk reaction to Twitter’s preposterous deletion of his tweet which should have been read in full”.
He added that the tweet was not a threat, but a statement of fact.
“A terrorist organisation (IPOB) poses a significant threat to the safety and security of Nigerian citizens.
“When the President said that they will be treated “in a language they understand,” he merely reiterated that their force shall be met with force. It is a basic principle of security services response world over.
“This is not promotion of hate, but a pledge to uphold citizens’ right to freedom from harm. The government cannot be expected to capitulate to terrorists.
“IPOB is proscribed under Nigerian law. Its members murder innocent Nigerians. They kill policemen and set government property on fire. Now, they have amassed a substantial stockpile of weapons and bombs across the country.
“Twitter does not seem to appreciate the national trauma of our country’s civil war. This government shall not allow a recurrence of that tragedy”, he explained.
Meanwhile, a Civil Society Organisation, Paradigm Initiative, had said that
The CSO said that the directive by the Nigerian government’s action is at its core, an abuse of the rights of citizens not just to freedom of expression, but many other rights guaranteed in the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as amended), the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
“This suspension, which is a reaction of the Nigerian government to the company’s enforcement of its platform rules, is aimed at insulating the government from criticism, especially by Nigeria’s youth who are over 70% of the country’s population”, PIN Said.