Report: Over N2 billion lost to Twitter ban in past 24 hours

FILE PHOTO - The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 28, 2016. REUTERS-Brendan McDermid-File Photo

An estimated N2 billion naira has been lost to the ban on Twitter by the Nigerian government, NetBlocks, an international Internet monitor, says.

NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool (COST) is a data-driven online service that enables anyone to quickly and easily produce rough estimates of the economic cost of Internet disruptions.

The digital rights advocacy platform estimates the economic impact of internet disruption, mobile data blackout, or app restriction using indicators from the World Bank, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Eurostat amongst others.

According to its analysis, an estimated N2.1 billion naira is lost when Nigeria shuts down Twitter for 24 hours.

NetBlock says it uses the Brookings Institution’s method which relies on development indicators and the Naira/dollar exchange rate of November 2019.

However, it did not specify whether this estimated loss is from advertisement revenue, Twitter marketing and sales of products, traffic generated by Twitter, or a drop in telecommunications operators’ revenue.

Nigeria’s information minister Lai Mohammed, on Friday, announced the ban and a federal government directive ordering the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to “immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.”

As a result of the restrictions implemented by telecommunications operators, Nigerians have been denied access to the microblogging platform and can only access by bypassing domain restrictions through alternative mediums.

The suspension followed Twitter’s deletion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s controversial tweet about the civil war after some Nigerian users found it offensive.

The government, in its response, accused the platform of meddling in Nigeria’s internal affairs and undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.

While the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, has ordered the prosecution of Twitter users in Nigeria after its ban, the presidency says the ban is temporary and an attempt to curb fake news.

Nevertheless, human rights groups as well as members of the international community have continued to mount pressure on the federal government to reverse the suspension.

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