What 1,000 Nigerians Think about the Twitter Ban

What 1,000 Nigerians Think about the Twitter Ban


By Temi Alabi | Global Ops Analyst, Sub-Saharan Africa

In early June 2021, the Nigerian government placed a ban on Twitter after President Buhari’s tweets were deleted for violating the social media platform’s terms of service.

A few months later, during a speech to mark the country’s 61st Independence Anniversary, the President announced that the government has been in negotiation with Twitter and he has ordered the ban to be lifted as long as the platform meets certain conditions laid out by the government.

Premise surveyed 1,000 of our contributors across Nigeria to better understand sentiments towards this ban as well as how the ban has affected people’s social and economic lives. These are some of our findings. Contact us to see the full results of this survey.

Implementing the Twitter Ban

We began the survey with introductory questions to know if people use Twitter and how often they visited the social media platform before the ban was enacted. About 62% of the contributors indicated that they use Twitter, about 28% do not use Twitter, and about 9% have never heard of Twitter. It might be interesting to note that a majority of those who have never heard of Twitter are in Kano and Kwara state. 

Do you use Twitter?

As someone who follows news coming from Nigeria closely, I was a bit surprised by the ban as there was not really a build up to it. There were a lot of speculations on social media platforms about why this ban was announced suddenly and implemented almost immediately, thus we decided to ask our contributors why they think the ban was enacted. 

Which of these factors played a role in the Twitter ban?

We then went on to ask questions about the ban, and about half of the respondents that use Twitter have been able to access it despite the ban, and 47% of these users can only access Twitter with a VPN.

  Can you access Twitter without a VPN?

 What VPN(s) do you use?

Interesting relevant information

Google Trends shows a huge spike in searches related to VPN on June 5 when the ban went into place. Top related queries include ‘how to use Twitter without a VPN’ or ‘Tuxler VPN download’.

According to Nairametrics, Nigeria’s leading financial information site, ExpressVPN (which 32% of our respondents say they use) saw more than a 200% increase in web traffic from Nigeria once the ban was put in place.

Impact of the Ban

Has the ban had positive or negative effects?

42% of contributors believe the ban has had negative effects, 36% believe it has had both positive and negative effects, and 15% believe it has had positive effects. 

What are the positive effects of the Twitter ban?

What are the Negative effects of the Twitter ban?

As can be seen in the two charts above about the different positive and negative effects, 

  • The main negative effects of the ban are related to its impact on businesses.
  • The main positive effects are that some Nigerians have saved money on mobile data and some have found other sources of news and entertainment.
  • 17% of our respondents say their tweets are being seen globally due to VPN use and cite that as a positive effect of the ban.

Interesting relevant information

17% of our respondents say their tweets are being seen globally due to VPN use and cite that as a positive effect of the ban. According to Nigerian news media, Nigerian words and tweets began trending in other countries due to VPN use.

Multiple reports show that Nigeria has lost a lot of money due to the Twitter ban. Quartz reports that the first two months of the ban cost the country around $350 million. In line with this, 25% of our users state that the ban has negatively impacted businesses.

Conditions for lifting the ban

Some of the conditions laid out by the Nigerian government in order to lift the ban on Twitter include setting up a local office in the country, registering with Nigeria’s tax revenue authority, and working with the government to regulate content on the platform and harmful tweets.

Do you agree or disagree with the government’s conditions for lifting the ban?

More than half of the contributors say that they either strongly or somewhat agree with the conditions recently laid out by the government before the ban is lifted. 

Contact us to see the full results of this survey.Temi Alabi 

About Premise

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