'The fall of a dry leaf is a warning to the green ones': Exploring the Twitter ban and the impending dangers of data politics, algorithmic governance, and mass surveillance in Nigeria

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v28i4.12692

Keywords:

Nigeria, Twitter ban, computational politics, mass surveillance, Nigerian government

Abstract

For many years, everyday Nigerians, activists, community advocates, political enthusiasts, human rights leaders, and groups saw and used social media, especially Twitter as their safe haven and a tool that gave them the unmitigated opportunities to air their opinions on topical issues of national interest, criticize the government of the day and speak truth to power — until 4 June 2021 when the Nigerian government suspended Twitter after the social media giant deleted a controversial tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari. That event is the thrust for this study as we believe that this newly realized understanding of the power of restrictive Internet policies could be a conduit for other technologically enhanced political and corrupt bureaucratic and, questionable practices such as the use of big data spying tools, digitally inclined electoral manipulation, and mass surveillance tools. As a result, we argue that the Twitter ban could be the beginning of digital authoritarianism in Nigeria. We explore the impending dangers of a dictatorial digital toolkit such as social media data mining and computational politics in social engineering with examples to buttress from patterns of foreign regimes.

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Published

2023-04-07

How to Cite

Elega, A. A., Mohammed, A., & Oloyede, F. (2023). ’The fall of a dry leaf is a warning to the green ones’: Exploring the Twitter ban and the impending dangers of data politics, algorithmic governance, and mass surveillance in Nigeria. First Monday, 28(4). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v28i4.12692