On Saturday, 5th June, 2021, the federal government of Nigeria indiscriminately put a ban on Twitter restricting its users in Nigeria from accessing it. This happened after the social media site suspended President Muhammadu Buhari’s genocidal tweets targeted at Biafrans.
The indefinite ban has affected many of its users living on the Plateau and all over the country, especially online vendors, digital marketers, content creators and social media managers who widely use Twitter as a microblogging and marketing platform.
Following the growing number of digital marketers and content creators in Jos who have proven particularly adept at leveraging Twitter for increased market share and wider reach, the ban has immensely affected them, causing so much loss and setback.
SKYHUB NIGERIA, a creative digital marketing agency based in Jos and Makurdi, creating and improving digital marketing and media presence and visibility for brands, individuals, institutions, government agencies and non governmental agencies has shown its displeasure on the development.
Speaking to CRESTHUB, Solomon Yateghtegh, the Cofounder of the agency said, “the ban has affected our efforts and engagements on the platform have been affected drastically. As people in the creative industry, we know our audience and how to carry them along; we have different contents for them, varying with each platform.”
“Early this year, we took a dive to go into an in-depth way of educating media owners and managers on our twitter with chat sessions and it’s been a thing of great interest for both ourselves and our audience on twitter. But the effect of the ban has pulled everything to zero. Why? First, we are a law abiding agency that is governed by the policies of the country of operations. Secondly, gathering from stories around, twitter handlers almost get tired of switching from a VPN (which is an alternative for accessing twitter) and back to their respective network”, he said.
Mr Yateghtegh further stated that, “it is also paramount to note that some of our clients have had massive retention of goods and services offered, but there’s been a huge loss these few days. On our page as a media agency, we’ve lost in meeting up with demands from our clients and some of our remote clients are already scouting for media consultants who aren’t Nigerians to handle their Twitter handles”
Twitter is the fifth most popular social media site, according to stats, with over 145 million active users. Due to the ban in Nigeria, many digital agencies who are reliant on its usage have lost sales and huge deals. The use of VPN has also proven to be stressful as one has to keep switching between networks. Also, the federal government has threatened the arrest of people caught with the Twitter and VPN apps on their phones.
An affected Twitter user, took to her page to lament on how the ban has affected her
Netblock, an international internet watchdog has said that the country has lost over 6 billion naira due to the ban, barely 4 days after its effect.
The government appears to have not put into consideration, the drastic socio-economic effects that the ban would have on businesses leveraging on Twitter’s marketing influence.