On the 4th of June, 2021, the Nigerian government banned Nigerians from using Twitter. This came after Twitter deleted a threatening tweet posted by the Nigerian president. The implications of the Twitter ban in Nigeria is far reaching and would affect different segments of the Nigerian demographic in different ways.
We decided to speak to a few business owners who run their business via social media, and specifically Twitter, about how this ban is affecting their business already or will affect their business and here’s what they said:
Susan – Thrift Clothes Business
The ban has already affected me even thought it just came into effect. I didn’t know about the ban until this morning. I was off Twitter all of yesterday. I was trying to log into my business Twitter all to no avail. At first, I thought Twitter was down or that they had suspended my account. When I mentioned it to a friend, they told me what had happened and helped me download VPN. Apparently, in the short time I was trying to log in to Twitter, a customer had sent me several DMs. Luckily, they understood why I wasn’t responding on time. I can’t imagine a world where I have to constantly use VPN before I access Twitter. I can already see it draining my battery all the time, which is annoying. I use Instagram too, but I’ve realised that a lot of my customers come from Twitter, so it’s really worrying to me.
Olumide – PR Agent
I own a music PR agency and I get most of my clients and traction from Twitter. I’m currently using VPN because I have a few deals to close. Imagine there was no VPN, just imagine. The country is a ticking time bomb, because imagine the amount I would’ve lost if there was no VPN. When will someone not carry gun?
Liz – Fashion Business
I haven’t fully processed what the Twitter ban means for my business, it’s really a lot to be honest.
Apart from the free exposure from likes and RTs, Twitter really helped me gain customers when I started out my fashion business. I feel like I’ve already lost a sizeable portion of potential customers thanks to this ban. It’s going to be a lot harder to get customers or new orders if no one can even access the platform that helped us gain them in the first place. A lot of small businesses rely heavily on Twitter, and I guess the biggest thing is for us to restrategise and make use of the other platforms to reach new customers.
Sola – Food Business
The entire climate of the country has affected my business, not even just the Twitter ban. If my people don’t have money or are thinking about how to survive in this harsh, wicked government, is it snacks that they’ll be thinking about? The Twitter ban just made it worse. On weekends, we sell out. We have lots of orders. I have never seen a dry day like today, since maybe October. It’s tiring.
Ewa – Jewelry Business
I’ve tried not to think about it because, Twitter gave my business visibility. I first started on Instagram, ran ads multiple times but I got only one customer from there. But as soon as I started on Twitter, I’ve gotten more customers, plus I’m able to reach a lot more timelines just because of retweets and likes. This Twitter ban is just going to affect it all; if I’m not able to tweet about my business, how am I going to get customers ? People don’t even trust Instagram vendors anymore.
Onome – Social Media Manager & Content Creator
The Twitter ban is very upsetting because it’s affecting what my business is now. I am a content creator and a social media manager which means a lot of work is on Twitter and managing social media. I work for brands, manage their Twitter and Instagram. After the ban was announced, the office said to stop posting for Twitter because they didn’t want the brand to be caught disobeying Nigeria’s “law”. If this Twitter ban in Nigeria continues, I forsee social media managers losing their jobs. Imagine being a Twitter influencer without Twitter; of course you will go out of business because a major source of livelihood has been cut off. I just started having customers on Twitter after 4 years of putting in work. Now, what happens to it? There’s a lot of anxiety. Twitter is what helps you grow, where the interactions take place. Even people who follow you on Instagram find you on Twitter first. Once, someone told me she patronised me because she searched my handle on Twitter and found no bad reviews. If we are being honest, no other website can be like Twitter.
Divine – Breakfast Business
I graduated 2 years ago and after a year of unemployment, I started my breakfast business which functions 100% online. I started using Twitter to market my business and make sales. Twitter alone brought in over 65% of my profit which I’ve used to fend for myself and family. I have met a lot of investors who are ready to enlarge my business so as to create more employment for other people too. This Twitter ban in Nigeria would not only destroy my source of livelihood but also cut me off from potential investors. I am a responsible Nigerian graduate who is only trying to survive.