Last night, just before midnight, news broke of the suspension of at least 12 well-followed Nigerian Twitter users, popular referred to as influencers.
Twitter legit be spreading hate on this day of love.
— chimé (@chime_szn) February 14, 2019
The suspended accounts, some of which are verified, included:
- Ani Nomso (@ani_nomso)
- Rouvafe (@Rouvafe)
- Lazy Writa (@LazyWrita)
- Jokunle (@Jokunle)
- Badmus Hakeem (@Bhadoosky)
- Shawnife (@Shawnife_)
- Official Bmax (@OfficialBmax)
- Uche Kush (@UcheKush_)
- Abdulaxis (@iam_abdulaxis)
- Enekem Greg (@EnekemGreg)
Obviously not random, many questioned the motivation for the mass suspension. Could that many users have reported these accounts for abusive behaviour, as has often been the case?
Business Insider by Pulse claims that the originator is none other than Twitter itself. This is not far-fetched, considering that not only is the timing convenient but, as Techpoint reported earlier today, the company is ramping up efforts to give Nigerians a reliable source of information during the 2019 general elections.
Business Insider's report quotes one Twitter spokesperson, Amy Rose as confirming that:
"We (Twitter) have suspended a small number of accounts in Nigeria for spam violations as part of our election integrity efforts in the region. We will continue to monitor the conversation closely and take aggressive action pursuant to the Twitter Rules."
In light of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal which reportedly affected over 271,000 Nigerians, it makes sense that Twitter, and its social networking counterparts, would take drastic measures to avoid a repeat of the partisan interference that marred the 2016 US elections. Earlier in 2019, Facebook itself had revealed its decision not to approve political ads that originate from outside Nigeria.
As Nigerians take to the polls on Saturday the 16th of February (Presidential) and March 2nd (Governorship), here is how you can follow the proceedings online.