Twitter Ban: Nigeria Reportedly Loses N24.72bn In 10 Days
Recall that Federal government on June 5 placed an indefinite suspension of the operations of the microblogging app in Nigeria after the site took down a tweet posted on the President’s handle.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, while announcing cited ‘the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence’ as the reason for the suspension.
Amid widespread criticism, Federal government last week said the microblogging site has reached out for discussions.
Twitter confirmed this in a tweet saying it was ready to meet for an open discussion to address mutual concerns and see the service restored.
Following this, Lai Mohammed few days ago declared that the Federal government will henceforth grant operating licence to social media platforms and online broadcast platforms to operate in Nigeria.
However, according to NetBlocks, an international Internet monitor, Nigeria loses N102.9m ($250,600) every hour to the ban.
The suspension which affects 26 per cent of about 33 million active social media users in Nigeria, Statista reports.
The digital rights advocacy platform estimates the economic impact of an internet disruption, mobile data blackout or app restriction using indicators from World Bank, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Eurostat amongst others.
According to its analysis, an estimated N2.1 billion naira was lost when Nigeria shut down Twitter for 24 hours.
While commenting on the effect of the ban on the economy, Director-General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture, Ayoola Olukanni said it has a more adverse effect on micro, small and medium businesses who rely on social media to conduct their business.
Communication is a significant part of sales and marketing in this digital age. Consequently, the Twitter ban will likely impact negatively and disrupt businesses especially Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises who rely on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram including Twitter to conduct business.
It will therefore most likely negatively impact the IT sector of the economy which is already facing several other challenges.
While it may be considered that there are alternative social media platforms, the abrupt nature of the suspension would mean a loss of existing contacts and a cost of migration.
We must of course also not and cannot, discountenance the national security dimension of the misuse of social media and micro-blogging platforms to inspire violence outside its use to conduct Business.”Olukanni said
Although Federal Government suspended Twitter from operating in Nigeria, many Nigerians have circumvented that restriction by using Virtual Private Networks to access their accounts.