Nigeria blocked access to Twitter in the country indefinitely on Friday evening, shortly after the company deleted a tweet by the country’s president, adding Africa’s most populous country to a short list of nations that have barred their citizens from using Twitter:
Nigeria’s faceoff with Twitter started earlier this week, when President Muhammadu Buhari threatened to deal with separatist groups accused of violence “in the language they understand,” a reference to the country’s brutal civil war more than 50 years ago. Twitter blocked Buhari from tweeting for 12 hours and ordered him to delete the post, which it claimed violated the site’s rules, the BBC reported.
Many governments with Twitter bans still use the social media platform, often to disseminate information to foreign audiences. Chinese diplomats and staffers regularly use Twitter to lash out at the country’s critics, Iran’s president and foreign minister are both active on the site, and Nigeria announced its decision to ban Twitter via tweet.
Buhari is the latest head of state to face sanctions from Twitter. Earlier this year, the company banned former President Donald Trump and deleted an account ostensibly linked to Iran’s supreme leader. Likewise, Facebook said Friday it will stop giving deference to politicians when deciding whether to delete newsworthy content that violates its rules.