Citizens based in Nigeria are now off twitter’s radar. This recent development ensued from a tweet made by the President of the country, Muhammadu Buhari. The tweet broke “Twitter’s abusive policies” which led to a 12-hour suspension of the President’s account.The two-day media altercation resulted in the indefinite suspension of Jack Dorsey’s Twitter in the country. For brand influencers, artists, and business owners who benefit from its operations, this development is disheartening. As people seek solutions or even alternatives, the ban on twitter in Nigeria has direct implications on businesses and the entertainment industry.
Twitter is an application that gives its users a platform for expression. As far as freedom of speech goes, “Twitter is your guy”. It amassed millions of users in Africa leading to the firm building an office in Ghana, West-Africa. Though, it is Nigeria that is home to the highest number of users of the platform on the continent. It is also the location of rising twitter influencers from different parts of the country.
Twitter influencers possess a lot of followers on the platform and use their handles to pass on information. Twitter influencers comprise of celebrities, brand influencers, business owners, and entrepreneurs. Basically, influencers are users that boast of at least 10,000 followers, as they have a say in what trends on the platform.
An issue can very easily trend on Twitter with a high number of interested users’ comments/tweets or retweets. Twitter users can be unapologetic in addressing issues, which led to the name “Black twitter”. Thus, an example of a popular never-ending issue is “The Jollof Rice Battle” between Nigerians and Ghanaians with users comparing which country has the better Jollof Rice dish.
Apparently, it would be a while before Nigerians engages in such juicy debates. Or even any twitter trend for that matter. Due to the app’s suspension on the 4th of June, 2021.
Nigerians started accessing the application by using Virtual Private Networks (VPN). A VPN application allows the user to change his/her location. However, VPN has also been banned in Nigeria.
Ban On Twitter: Impact on Businesses and Entertainment
Unemployment figures in the country are high. Causing many Nigerians to turn to social media to create a source of income and relief for depression. Brand influencers offer promotional services. Movies, music and other means of entertainment have been aired on Twitter before their release. And it’s the first place businesses go to for feedback due to the candid responses from users. A lot of making-money interactions would be hindered by this ban, but it is only fitting that we address first, that which is most linked to the application.
1) Brand Influencers
A brand is a distinct means of identification attached to a business, person, or group of people. Influencers as explained earlier, are people that possess many followers on a platform. This users can change or influence the minds of their followers to action. They are the comedians, actors, musicians and public figures. Brand influencers create different types of content to promote a specific brand. The brand on the other hand pays the brand influencers an agreed sum of money for their services.
Influencers collect 100,000 naira or more as payment for one promotion. And in recent times, youths have carved a niche for themselves in that regard. Brand influencers control many accounts from Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, to Snapchat. Hence, cutting off Twitter is annihilating a source of their revenue stream. This and many other reasons are why this law has garnered disapproval.
2) Business Owners
The world of business has pretty much adapted to the use of the social media. The use of social media videos for advertisement has become widespread practice. Animation videos increase sales with advertisements of products and services. These ads reach thousands of users on the Twitter application.
The official accounts of these businesses also keep customers up to date with everything related to their businesses. Customers now easily access a lot of things, for example:
b) Customer Services
Customer services now operate via social media. Customers can now make complaints to service and product providers. Banks now attend to unsatisfied customers, who can send complaints from the comfort of their homes, through Direct Messages. This luxury of time and comfort is available on the the social media. Visits to banks are for more complicated issues.
c) Business Reputation
Businesses don’t want to be dragged (negatively spoken about) online. This is why smart companies are responding quickly to their customers’ grievances. If a customer feels hard-done by a company, Twitter users are ever ready to provide support against an erring organisation or individual. Business owners try to avoid any form of social media scandal.
Twitter has been a safe place for unsatisfied customers to air their grievances. The twitter ban in Nigeria now makes that impossible.
For music and movies in particular, this ban has indeed been cause for concern. Music celebrities use Twitter as a means of direct communication with their fans. Done to update them on any materials on the way; details of shows, singles and albums are anticipated via Twitter. Musicians have now been disconnected from thousands of fans. Fans that would normally be hearing directly from the artistes
. For movies, it is no different; movie trailers and updates would now have to be sourced elsewhere. Not to mention Twitter business accounts that link users to recent blockbusters.
Musicians and Actors would have to find new ways to communication with fans. The likes of WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. would be waiting (arms wide open) to welcome more loyal customers due to the Twitter ban.
The ban on Twitter in Nigeria has various implications on businesses & entertainment. Individuals that used the platform to create a source of revenue would have to second-guess dependence on one social media platform. It might take some getting used to, but Nigerians are known for facing and adjusting to anything.