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FG To Lift Suspension On Twitter Once It Registers With NBC and CAC

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The Nigerian government will lift the suspension of Twitter, the microblogging platform once the digital social media app registers with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

According to an affidavit deposed to by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation in response to a suit filed by a human rights lawyer, the government said Twitter would not have been suspended if it complied with Nigeria’s laws.

The affidavit deposed by Ilop Lawrence on behalf of the Federal Government and the AGF, it was stated that the suspension of Twitter was not an abuse of human rights because Nigerians were still using Twitter despite the suspension.

The government told the court that the Twitter suspension would be lifted once the platform registers with the NBC and the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The government had on June 4, 2021, suspended Twitter barely two days after the social media platform censored a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Subsequently, the AGF, Abubakar Malami threatened to prosecute Nigerians still using the platform while NBC ordered all radio and television stations to stop using Twitter or picking content from the platform.

Human Rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, subsequently sued the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Malami, and the Federal Government for suspending the social media platform.

In the fundamental human rights suit marked FHC/L/CS/542/2021, Effiong is seeking nine reliefs, including an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further suspending, deactivating, or banning the operation and accessibility of Twitter or any other social media service in Nigeria because the act was in violation of his rights.

Effiong asked the court to declare as illegal the threat of criminal prosecution by Malami and Lai Mohammed against Nigerians who ‘violate’ the suspension or ban of Twitter, despite the absence of any written law.

But in its response to the originating motion, the government said Nigerians are still using the microblogging platform despite the suspension placed on the app.

“The applicant (Effiong) and the class he seeks to represent can still operate those Twitter accounts from anywhere in the world and even from Nigeria.

“Nigerians are still tweeting, even at this moment as the ban on Twitter is not aimed at intimidating Nigerians or an infringement on the rights of Nigerians to express their opinion.

“The respondents (Federal Government and AGF) have never stopped the applicant (Effiong) and the class of persons he seeks to represent from voicing their opinions to access government information and offer criticism where necessary,” the government said in the affidavit.

The government told the court that Nigerians are still free to use other platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Tiktok and others.

The Federal Government also denied knowledge of Twitter censoring Buhari’s tweet on the Biafra civil which offended many Nigerians.

It said Twitter had made its platform accessible to elements like Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra; and had supported the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 which was later hijacked by hoodlums.

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United States Federal Trade Commission Fines Twitter $150 Million Over Privacy, Security Violations

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The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has ordered Twitter Incorporation to pay a sum of $150m as a fine for violating the 2011 administrative order of the Commission over its decision to use the email addresses and phone numbers of its users for targeted advertising.

The suit noted that the misrepresentations violated the FTC Act. Therefore, the commission and Twitter agreed to a settlement of $150 million after Twitter had earlier told users that the data was gathered for security purposes.

Checks by Investors King show the verdict was announced by the U.S Department of Justice (DoJ) on Wednesday.  The US DoJ in its 20-page count filed in the US District Court alleged that Twitter asked users for their contact information to make their accounts more secure. The social media giant failed to tell users that it would also use their phone numbers and email addresses to help companies send targeted ads to them.

“Twitter obtained data from users on the pretext of harnessing it for security purposes but then ended up also using the data to target users with ads,” FTC Chair, Lina Khan accused.

Khan further said the practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue.

The 2011 FTC order stated that Twitter “engaged in deceptive acts or practices” by misrepresenting how it handled user data and that the company lacked reasonable safeguards to keep accounts and data secure. Additionally, the order barred Twitter from misrepresenting “the extent to which [it] maintains and protects the security, privacy, confidentiality, or integrity of any nonpublic consumer information,” the order read in part.

Twitter’s settlement covers allegations that it misrepresented the “security and privacy” of user data between May 2013 and September 2019, according to the court documents.

In addition to the monetary settlement, the agreement requires Twitter to improve its compliance practices,” according to the statement of order.

According to the complaint issued, “Specifically, while Twitter represented to users that it collected their telephone numbers and email addresses to secure their accounts, Twitter failed to disclose that it also used user contact information to aid advertisers in reaching their preferred audiences.”

Twitter is a free service that generates its revenue majorly through advertising

The company generated $5bn in revenue in 2021 and said in a filing earlier in May that it had put aside $150m after agreeing” in principle” upon a sanction by the FTC.

 

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“We Suspend Over Half A Million Spam Accounts Every day” – Twitter CEO Reveals

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Twitter CEO, Parag Agrawal has revealed that Twitter suspends over half a million spam accounts on the site every day.

In a series of tweets, the tech guru discussed extensively on the issue of Spam,  how the impacts have affected human work, and how the company works extensively to solve them.

This comes barely three days after Investors King reported the reasons Parag sacked top Twitter officers.

“First, let me state the obvious: spam harms the experience for real people on Twitter, and therefore can harm our business. As such, we are strongly incentivized to detect and remove as much spam as we possibly can, every single day. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just wrong.

“Next, spam isn’t just ‘binary’ (human / not human). The most advanced spam campaigns use combinations of coordinated humans + automation. They also compromise real accounts, and then use them to advance their campaign. So – they are sophisticated and hard to catch.

“Some final context: fighting spam is incredibly *dynamic*. The adversaries, their goals, and tactics evolve constantly – often in response to our work! You can’t build a set of rules to detect spam today, and hope they will still work tomorrow. They will not

“We suspend over half a million spam accounts every day, usually before any of you even see them on Twitter. We also lock millions of accounts each week that we suspect may be spam – if they can’t pass human verification challenges (captchas, phone verification, etc),” he tweeted.

Further emphasizing on the challenge the team encounters, Parag said: “many accounts that seem like spam are real accounts and they cause the most damage to other users. In retrospect to that, the team updates the systems and rules constantly to remove as much spam as possible, without inadvertently suspending real people or adding unnecessary friction for real people when they use Twitter”.

He added that the use of private data is particularly important to avoid misclassifying users who are actually real.

“FirstnameBunchOfNumbers with no profile pic and odd tweets might seem like a bot or spam to you, but behind the scenes we often see multiple indicators that it’s a real person”, he said.

 

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Twitter CEO Supports Elon Musk’s Decision To Suspend Takeover

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Chief Executive Officer, Twitter, Parag Agrawal has supported the decision of Elon Musk to place the takeover of Twitter on hold. Parag Agrawal, in his tweet, supported the result of the Twitter report on spam accounts at less than five percent of users.

Investors King recalls that Elon Musk had said he would place the Twitter takeover on hold following the report by the company on fake/spam accounts.

Analysts have speculated that Musk may be looking for ways to renegotiate the price of the deal or walk away. Their findings erupted further on Monday after Bloomberg reported that Musk had said at a tech conference that a deal at a lower price was “not out of the question.” He also said spam accounts might be four times Twitter’s claims, according to the report.

However, Mr Agrawal defended the firm’s count, saying he would discuss the issue with data and facts. He explained that the company used a combination of public and private data to determine which accounts were real, reviewing random samples every few months. He added that Twitter suspended roughly 500,000 suspect accounts daily and locked millions more.

“Let’s talk about spam. And let’s do so with the benefit of data, facts, and context. Unfortunately, we don’t believe that this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can’t share). Externally, it’s not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs on any given day.

“There are LOTS of details that are very important underneath this high-level description. We shared an overview of the estimation process with Elon a week ago and look forward to continuing the conversation with him, and all of you.

“The margins of error are well within its estimate of spam accounts representing less than five percent of daily users,” Mr Agrawal said.

However, the stock market, which has seen weeks of turmoil wipe billions off the value of many companies, remains skeptical that the deal will go through as outlined.

The price of a Twitter share has fallen below $38, sliding more on Monday after Mr Agrawal’s tweets. This is less than the price of the stock before Mr Musk revealed his interest in the company and well below the $54.20 per share he has offered.

Twitter’s board approved the takeover last month, but the deal was not expected to be completed for months.

An analyst at Wedbush Securities, Dan Ives said that a major fall in Tesla shares- which were critical to Mr Musk’s financing of the deal – and wider market declines have caused Musk to get “cold feet”.

Dan said while he expects the deal to close, there is a need to be prepared for all scenarios and always do what’s right for Twitter.

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