Twitter was down for about an hour and half due to some changes it made to its internal systems but the platform has returned to normal. However, some Nigerians thought this act might have been influenced by the #EndSars protest, which has drawn attention of many including Twitter CEO.
SARS is a unit of the Nigeria police force which stands for Special Anti-Robbery Squad whose sole responsibility is to tackle crime. Many angry Nigerian youths took to the streets to protest the gruesome murders and other evils perpetrated by this sect. They were accused of abusing their power and killing innocent citizens who dare challenge their authority.
As the protests continued to gain international recognition, the Nigerian government was desperate for an end to the status quo. Prior to now, the government had been trying to regulate the use of social media. This is quite a common strategy on the African continent. In July, the internet was shut down for about 8 days. The protest over the death of Hachalu Hundessa had led to such drastic measure. Liberia, Burundi and Cameroon are some Africa countries whose governments regulate social media. With the recent happenings, it’s unlikely that the Nigeria government succeed with a plan to regulate social media.
Digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter are helping to make news trend and become a global concern. Protesters and victims have been using these channels to share their experiences and thanks to technology, people can easily share photos and videos of evidences.
The social network however, said the downtime was a necessity to get it functional in no time without any evidence of a security breach or a hack. It said on its page that it was investigating an “unresolved incident” and irregularities it found with the application and programming interfaces. “We are continuing to monitor the issue, and things appear to have returned to normal,” the site said.
A tracking website, downdetector.com showed that over 55,000 users were facing issues with the site. In July 2020, Twitter had reported a breach where hackers hijacked the accounts of over 100 people including former US president Barack Obama, US presidential candidate Joe Biden and reality TV star, Kim Kardashian, and used them to extort digital currencies from unsuspecting Twitter users.
Downtimes are quite common with social networking sites. Facebook in March 2014 experienced a downtime as a result of server configuration change. Many users had trouble accessing the app. Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram all went down at the same time all over the world.
Twitter communications team in a tweet said that the site would be up and running for every user within a few hours after the downtime left many users unable to tweet or load their timeline. As at now, the app is running and back to normal, but in all, this is a stack reminder that the internet is not entirely secure. Everything in the cloud could come to a halt or crash perhaps.