© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: In this illustration image dated September 27, 2013, people with cell phones are projected against a background with the Twitter logo. REUTERS / Kacper Pempel / Illustration / File Photo
ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria said Friday it had suspended Twitter activities indefinitely, two days after the social media giant removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish regional secessionists.
Information Minister Lai Mohammed said the government acted because of “continued use of the platform for activities that can undermine Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
Mohammed gave neither the form of the suspension nor details of the undermining activities. His ministry also announced the blocking of Twitter on Twitter. (https://twitter.com/FMICNigeria/status/1400843062641717249)
When asked about the details of the suspension, a ministerial councilor told Reuters, “Wait and see how things go.”
Twitter’s website and app continued to work in Nigeria’s capital Abuja and the commercial center of Lagos on Friday.
A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Wednesday, the US tech firm said that Buhari’s Post violated Twitter’s “Abusive Conduct” policy by threatening to punish groups held responsible for attacks on government buildings.
In April, the information minister reacted angrily when Twitter selected neighboring Ghana for its first African office. He said the company had been influenced by Nigerian media misrepresentations, including reports of raids on protests last year.
Protesters calling for police reform had used social media to organize, raise funds and share alleged evidence of police harassment. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted https://twitter.com/jack/status/1316485283777519620?s=20 to encourage his followers to donate.
In the wake of the protests, Mohammed called for “some sort of regulation” in social media to combat “fake news”.
A spokesman for Airtel, one of Nigeria’s largest wireless operators, declined on Friday to say whether the company had received any government orders to suspend it.
MTN, the largest mobile operator, did not respond to calls and a message asking for comment.
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