CAUSES AND EFFECT OF TWITTER BAN ON NIGERIA CITIZENS
1.1 Background Of The Study
Social media has long been recognized as a mode of human connection in which people produce, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. The growing popularity of social media platforms has resulted in the creation of new digital social networks in which people can engage and share information, news, and ideas at an unparalleled rate and ease. As a result, the adoption of such technologies appears to have the potential to modify contemporary social configurations and relations (Zhang, W., Johnson, T.J., Seltzer, T. & Bichard, S. 2010).
The internet has become the most significant technological revolution of the twentieth century, with a sizable portion of the world's population having access to it. The employment of these technologies in the efficient, cost-effective, and convenient exchange of key information and opinions among people through online media platforms such as Twitter has become so important in today's society (Manning, J. 2014). Thus, networked digital technologies, according to Sajindra, K., and Patil, R. (2013), are transforming mass public communications in a variety of ways, facilitating not only new forms of antagonism and social fragmentation, but also deliberation, debate, civil participation, and other forms of social interaction (of which Twitter is a typical example).
As a result, Twitter encourages dialogue and public participation in a variety of human-interest topics. Thus, the unrestricted participatory character of Twitter has provided several chances for the public to engage in dialogues about a variety of environmental issues (an experience in Nigeria) (Sajindra et al (2013). More specifically, company owners and cooperative organizations have used Twitter to market their services. Twitter's significance and benefits cannot be emphasized. It has provided as a platform for reaching out to clients and targeted audiences, consequently fostering business growth for small and medium-sized firms. As a result, it is clear that Nigerian citizens are using Twitter for purposes that are acceptable for them, most notably to voice ideas and exercise free speech on societal and political issues, among other things. Regardless of Twitter's vital services, nations such as Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Kingdom, North Korea, Iran, China, and, most recently, Nigeria have proclaimed and sustained the platform's suspension. The unprecedented and dramatic decision to suspend Twitter in Nigeria will undoubtedly have a wide-ranging impact on the country (politically, economically and in other wise). This study, on the other hand, focuses on the causes and consequences of the Twitter ban on Nigerian citizens.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
Following the suspension of President Muhammadu Buhari's account for breaking the social media company's "abusive" behavior rules, the Nigerian government halted Twitter's operations in the country. Buhari's account was suspended for 12 hours after he threatened to punish regional secessionists accused of attacking government buildings (Aljezeer news report). However, in a statement made in Abuja on Friday, 5 June 2021, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension of Twitter, citing the platform's persistent usage for actions capable of undermining Nigeria's corporate existence (Aljezeera.com). Thus, this erratic choice has a massive impact not only on Nigerian society, but also sends the erroneous signal to foreign investors, and small businesses in Nigeria which rely on Twitter for a livelihood would be equally impacted. "Businesses in Nigeria use digital media to attract customers, expose their brands, and connect with numerous stakeholders," Sesan explained to AlJazeera. As a result, the citizens of the country have been limited by this ban as most social media users in Nigeria are acquainted with the use of Twitter for sharing educative, urgent, and business information. They also use Twitter to express their opinions and participate in both social and political matters. According to Aljezeera's interview with Emmanuel Alumona, "Twitter is similar to my local newspaper. When I want to check what's going on in the country and people's opinions, I refresh my timeline; nevertheless, it's too difficult to tolerate Twitter's ban because most Nigerians, including myself, may no longer be kept up to date on societal affairs". it is therefore upon this background that this study aims at identifying the causes and consequences of the Twitter ban on Nigerian people.
1.3 Objectives Of The Study
The major target of this study is to identify the causes and effects of the Twitter ban on Nigeria's citizens. Below are the specific objectives of this study.
Identify the major causes of the Twitter ban in Nigeria.
Identify the negative effect of the Twitter ban on Nigeria's citizens.
Identify if the Twitter ban has had any effect on the social interaction of Nigeria's citizens.
1.4 Research Hypothesis
An hypothesis refers to an experimental statement, tentative in nature, showing the relationship between two or more variables. It is open to testing and can be accepted or rejected depending on whether it agrees or disagrees with the statistical test.
The study will test the validity of the following hypothesis:
H01: The Twitter ban has had no negative effect on Nigeria's citizens.
H02: Twitter ban has no effect on social interaction of Nigeria citizens.
1.5 Significance Of The Study
This study will deeply unveil the unforeseen effects of the mercurial decision against the use of Twitter in Nigeria. In light of this, the study will also educate/apprise the Nigerian government on the dangers that the indefinite suspension of Twitter in the country may cause, as well as enlighten them on the importance of listening to the voices of their citizens.More so, for businesses in Nigeria which use Twitter to reach their customers, this study will be of great use to them as the study will not be considered complete without proffering solutions that will be practically applicable. Lastly, this study will serve as a source of relevant information for students, researchers, other academics, and the general public.
1.6 Scope Of The Study
This study focuses on the causes and effects of the Twitter ban on Nigerian citizens, with the specific goal of identifying the major causes of the Twitter ban in Nigeria, identifying the negative effects of the Twitter ban on Nigerian citizens, and determining whether the Twitter ban has any effect on Nigerian citizens' social interactions.Therefore, this study will sample only public opinion and will be delimited to Asaba Delta State residence.
1.7 Limitation Of The Study
Financial constraint- Inadequate funds tend to impede the researcher's efficiency in locating relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as in the data collection process (internet, questionnaire, and interview).
Time constraint-The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
1.8 Definition Of Terms
Social media, basically, concerns all forms of new media technology that offers interactive sharing of information, videos, pictures, text and comments with such websites as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Linkedin, Youtube and Blogs.
Twitter is an American microblogging and social networking service on which users post and interact with messages known as "tweets".
A ban is a formal or informal prohibition of something. Bans are formed for the prohibition of activities within a certain political territory.
Ajazeera New: How Nigeria’s Twitter ban stands to impact people, businesses:https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/6/7/nigerian-twitter-ban-how-government-restriction-affects-people.
Ajazeera New: Nigerians on Twitter react to Nigeria’s Twitter suspension: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/4/nigerian-twitter-users-blast-govt-ban-of-social-media-giant
Manning, J. (2014). Social media, Definition and Classes Of. In K. Harvey (Ed.).
Sajindra, K., & Patil, R. (2013). Social Media – History and Components. Journal of Business and Management.
Zhang, W., Johnson, T.J., Seltzer, T. & Bichard, S. (2010). The Revolution Will be Networked: The Influence of Social Networking Sites on Political Attitudes and Behaviour. Social Science Computer Review. SAGE Publication.