This is a good example of power play. And we could learn one or two valuable lessons from it. I’m making this commentary from a business perspective. As a Master’s graduate from business school, and a law student, I’m definitely not surprised by the reaction from both sides.
Yes, many Nigerians have been affected because now they can’t use Twitter anymore. But guess what? Both Twitter and the Nigerian government were responding according to their own right. Let me explain.
Let’s assume that Twitter was a restaurant; serving thousands and thousand of customers per day. Making lots of money because it was popular and in demand. Then one day this particular customer came to dine at Twitter restaurant. That customer was the Nigerian government. Suddenly while enjoying his food, the Nigerian government said something to the waiter. Something that it’s not appreciated by management. Consequently, the manager at Twitter decided to kick that customer out. Banning him from his restaurant.
So of course, Nigeria was hurt as a customer and he went on and responded by having the restaurant closed down. Because guess what? Nigeria, the customer, happened to be the land owner of where Twitter had his business.
Twitter has allegedly managed to suspend people from its platform in the past. People whom it felt broke their policies. Including President Donald Trump. Twitter has policies, and in its own right, can enforce those on anyone. Because as long as a person is using their services, they have the say.
But so do governments. Governments make policies that include safeguarding human rights, such as ‘freedom of speech’. In all cases, there is no private company that has a bigger power than that of the government. Essentially, expression companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram still have to follow and respect the policies and laws of the countries in which they operate.
The sad part in this equation is that all other customers who enjoyed dining at Twitter restaurant are now missing out from the delicious food. And those customers are the Nigerian citizens. On the hand, the Nigerian government is also protecting the rights of the same citizens. The right of freedom of speech.
It’s a tricky situation because they’re both, to a certain extent, protecting their rights. The question is, who’s got more power? The restaurant owner or the land owner?
Good luck to everyone involved; may they find a resolution soon.
As always, this is a commentary post, key details are alleged.