Many have applauded the decision of Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey to delete a part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweets considered to be genocidal.
However, the action has garnered reactions from Nigerians who had called for a ban on the President’s account.
So many Nigerian social media users called for a ban on President Buhari’s Twitter account.
SaharaReporters has observed a long list of the Twitter account of influential leaders at the national level banned by Twitter for violating rules.
Although only two nation’s presidents have been banned so far, other accounts representing the interest of people at national levels had also been banned.
In February 2019, the Twitter account of Ali Khamenei (@khamenei_ir), Supreme Leader of Iran February 2019 was locked for 24 hours for posting a tweet endorsing the 1989 fatwa against Salman Rushdie.
Myanmar Army Chief
On May 16, 2019, A Myanmar army general, Min Aung Hlaing, who was accused of masterminding genocide against the country’s Muslim Rohingya people had his Twitter account @sgminaunghlaing suspended, following complaints about him using the social media platform for hate speech.
Min Aung Hlaing, who was also accused of using social media to spread anti-Rohingya propaganda, had his Facebook account deleted in August 2018, after the United Nations called for Myanmar military leaders to be prosecuted for genocide.
Chinese Government Embassy
In April 2020, the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka (@ChinaEmbSL) was mistakenly suspended for using undiplomatic language against social media users while responding to allegations against China.
“This account was mistakenly caught in a spam filter. This has been reversed and the account has been reinstated,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement.
On September 30 2020, the official Twitter account of the Hungarian government was temporarily suspended and then restored.
While the account was suspended, the following notice appeared on its feed: “Twitter suspends accounts which violate the Twitter rules.”
Government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said in a Facebook post that “we have taken the necessary steps and are awaiting an official explanation from Twitter” regarding the status of the government’s @abouthungary account.
Iranian Government Official
Another Twitter account, @RMXnews, which belongs to a government-supported media publication, was also suspended with the same notice.
On November 10, 2020, Twitter suspended the account of Mohsen Rezaei, a former IRGC commander and secretary of an advisory council to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council said Twitter suspended its secretary’s account, which had over 140,000 followers, without giving an explanation.
Iranian Petroleum Minister
On November 15, 2020, Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, Iranian Minister of Petroleum had his Twitter account permanently banned because it violated the website’s rules against impersonation.
Chinese Embassy In The US
A Twitter account belonging to the Chinese Embassy in the US (@ChineseEmbinUS) was banned on 20 January 2021.
The embassy’s Twitter account was suspended after it issued a Tweet defending the Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiang province.
The embassy’s Tweet—claiming that Uyghur women had been “emancipated” from extremism and were “no longer baby-making machines”—was deleted, and the account was suspended for violating Twitter’s policy prohibiting “dehumanization of a group of people based on their religion, caste, age, disability, serious disease, national origin, race, or ethnicity”.
In January 2021, Twitter permanently banned former United States President, Donald Trump, some days after a pro-Trump mob stormed the United States Capitol leaving five dead.
“After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said in a statement.
The ban comes after the president incited a mob that broke into the US Capitol building, disrupting Congress’ certification of Joe Biden as President-Elect. Twitter initially put a 12-hour ban on Trump’s account for “repeated and severe violations of our Civic Integrity policy” after he posted messages repeating lies that the election was stolen.
Also, in the same month, Donald Trump was banned “indefinitely” by Facebook in the wake of January’s US Capitol attack.
Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg said his dramatic action against the then-president was essential to prevent more political violence ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The ban was welcomed as long overdue by critics of the president and was blasted by conservatives as the ultimate example of Big Tech political “censorship.”
On June 2, 2021, Microblogging platform, Twitter deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet where he threatened to treat Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand”.
— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) June 2, 2021
The tweet, which attracted the outrage of many Nigerians read, “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
The President’s Twitter account was reported by Nigerians who understood the last part of the thread as threats against the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its military wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
Many reminded Buhari of the consequences of the Nigerian Civil War which lasted from 1967 to 1970, stating that such must not be repeated.
Following widespread condemnation of the tweet, Twitter deleted the message on Wednesday.
The platform said the message by the Nigerian President violated its rules.