BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Transparency and accountability are essential for a modern democracy’s efficient operation and the promotion of societal well-being. Many powers are allocated to governmental authorities in most countries. The delegators, i.e. society as a whole, must therefore be assured that this transfer of power is not only successful, but also not abused. Transparency guarantees that information is available to assess the work of the authorities and defend against any potential abuse of power. Transparency, in this sense, aids accountability, which means that authorities may be held accountable for their acts. Without openness and accountability, trust between a government and those it controls will be absent. As a result, there would be social unrest and an unfriendly environment. Transparency can be thought of as a composite construct made up of several elements, including external accessibility and active disclosure. It has been defined in a variety of ways, but most definitions consider visibility to be essential. The availability of information about an actor that allows the other actors to monitor the workings or performance of the first actor is a good working definition of transparency. It can be expanded to include completeness, understanding, or inferability of information, but it essentially begins with “the availability of information about an actor that allows the other actors to monitor the workings or performance of the first actor.” Transparency can be promoted by governments actively providing information about their operations and choices and then allowing individuals to access, monitor, and assess it. Government transparency is viewed by citizens when government information is made publicly available. Even if the information is available, citizens will not use it. Nigeria’s government is one of several that uses social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites to keep residents informed about its policies and activities. The recent ban on one of the most popular social networking sites, Twitter, has created a lot of confusion among its residents. Twitter is a microblogging and social networking website based in the United States that allows users to send and receive messages known as “tweets.” Unregistered users can only view tweets, while registered users can post, like, and retweet them. Twitter is accessed via a website interface or a mobile device application software. Citizens may be pushed to lose faith in the transparency of government in the absence of timely information, such as that posted on various social networking platforms.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The Nigerian government officially banned Twitter from operating in the country on June 4, 2021, after the social media platform deleted tweets by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari warning the people of Nigeria’s south-eastern region, which is primarily occupied by the Igbo people, of a potential repeat of the 1967 Biafran Civil War (CNN 2021). The removal of the President’s tweets was cited as a factor in the decision, but it was ultimately based on “a litany of problems with the social media platform in Nigeria, where misinformation and fake news spread through it has had real-world, violent consequences,” according to the Nigerian government.
Despite the fact that Amnesty International, the British and Canadian embassies in Nigeria, as well as domestic organizations such as the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), have all condemned the ban, its implications are likely to have a significant negative impact on Nigerian telecommunications companies’ profitability.
More than 120 million Nigerians have access to the internet and social networking sites, according to the Social-Media-Poll-Report (2020), and approximately 40 million of them have a Twitter account, accounting for 20% of the population. As a result, the banning of Twitter in Nigeria implies that one of the numerous social media channels via which citizens are informed about government policies and programs has been obstructed, sending a lot of messages to the public about the Buhari-led administration’s policies and plans.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major goal of this research is to look into the impact of the Twitter ban on government openness. The goal of the research is to:
Examine the significance of social media in terms of government openness.
Before the ban, researchers wanted to see how transparent the administration was on Twitter.
To see if the present Twitter prohibition has a negative influence on citizens’ perceptions of government transparency and accountability.
The following hypothesis serves as a guide for the investigation.
HO1: Nigerian individuals’ perceptions of government transparency are unaffected by the country’s Twitter prohibition.
HO2: There is no link between the Twitter prohibition and government transparency.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The empirical and theoretical components of this work will be useful to citizens, political stakeholders, and the government, as this study provides a critical analysis of the effect of the Twitter ban on government openness and accountability. The study will inform stakeholders and the government about the need to reconsider the present Twitter ban, taking into account how this would affect citizens’ perceptions of openness and accountability, and how this may threaten the real tenet of democracy. Furthermore, the study will be extremely beneficial to students, researchers, and other anyone who may be interested in gathering or doing research on the subject at hand.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this research includes a critical assessment of Twitter’s ban’s influence on government openness and accountability. As a result, the study is confined to Twitter users in Lagos State.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The following variables were mentioned as a constraint during the course of this study.
Financial constraints– A researcher’s efficiency in discovering relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as in the data gathering procedure, is often hampered by a lack of financing (internet, questionnaire, and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will be working on this subject while also doing other academic tasks. As a result, the time spent on research is cut in half.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Twitter is a microblogging and social networking website based in the United States that allows users to send and receive messages known as “tweets.” Unregistered users can only view tweets, while registered users can post, like, and retweet them.
Twitter Ban: The Federal Government of Nigeria authorized a halt in the operation of Twitter on June 5th, 2021, until the proprietors of the social network meet the newly created standards imposed by the government of Nigeria.
Transparency: In science, engineering, business, the humanities, and other social situations, transparency operates in such a way that others may easily see what actions are taken.
Accountability is synonymous with answerability, blameworthiness, and transparency in terms of ethics and governance.
Nigeria bans Twitter when the corporation deletes President Buhari’s message, according to CNN (2021). On the 5th of June 2021, I was able to get a hold of some information
Report on a Social Media Poll (2020) Google search yielded the 2020 Global Social Media Market Survey report.
The Washington Post is a news organization based in the United (2021) “Nigeria suspends Twitter after the president’s account was frozen by the social media platform.” The ISSN number for this article is 0190-8286. On the 5th of June 2021, I was able to get a hold of some information
S. M. Zavattaro and A. J. Sementelli (2015). Introducing omnipresence, a critical analysis of social media use in government. 257–264 in Government Information Quarterly. doi:10.1016/j.giq.2013.10.007