Twitter says access to the free and open internet is an essential human right in modern society.
Hours after the Nigerian government ordered telecommunication companies and internet service providers in the country to block access to Twitter, the microblogging site via its Public Policy handle said it’s deeply concerned by the blocking of its platform in Nigeria.
The government of Nigeria decided to ban Twitter two days after the social media company took down President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet.
In his reaction to the unrest in the southeast, the president made reference to the 1967 civil war and also threatened to deal with secessionist agitators ‘in the language they understand.’
Buhari had tweeted, “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
Following widespread complaints about the tweet, Twitter took down Buhari’s tweet, saying it violated its rules.
This subsequently led to the suspension of the social media platform on Friday, as Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed gave “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence” as the reason for suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.
Reacting to its indefinite suspension, the social media giant said access to the free and open internet is an essential human right in modern society.
Twitter also promised to restore access for all Nigerians who rely on its platform to communicate and connect with the rest of the world.
Twitter said, “We are deeply concerned by the blocking of Twitter in Nigeria. Access to the free and #openinternet is an essential human right in modern society.
We will work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on Twitter to communicate and connect with the world. #KeepitOn.”
Meanwhile, many Nigerians have been skirting around the restriction by using Virtual Private Network to conceal their IP addresses and disguise their Nigerian location.
After the ban was announced on Friday, VPN was the number one trend on Twitter Nigeria as Nigerians started tweeting about how to use VPNs to bypass an actual ban on the platform.