The complex consequences of unfettered access to social media and its opposite, banning social media, have been highlighted in recent news stories from India and Nigeria.
According to Reuters, there have been allegations in India that Twitter failed to stop the spread of a video apparently showing Hindu men beating an elderly man, believed to be a Muslim, and cutting his beard.
A police report named Twitter Inc, among others, for their alleged roles in disseminating the video. The case was registered in Ghaziabad in northern Uttar Pradesh state. Ghaziabad police have written to Twitter India head Manish Maheshwari to appear before officials within seven days of the receipt of the summons, believed to have been last Thursday.
Twitter is already under attack in India over its apparent lack of reponse to new IT rules that require it to appoint new compliance officers by May 26. The result of ignoring such rules could be the removal of the company's protection against legal liability for user-generated content.
By contrast there appear to have been adverse consequences not just for Twitter but for the Nigerian economy from the Nigerian decision to suspend Twitter indefinitely. This decision was made after President Buhari allegedly used the platform to threaten violent retaliation against a south-eastern secessionist group. His tweet was deleted.
Twitter has an estimated 40 million users in Nigeria, many of whom use Twitter and other social media platforms for work, marketing, customer service, business advertising and employment opportunities.
The result of the suspension, according to estimates from a company called NetBlocks, which tracks internet governance, has been that each day of the Twitter shutdown will cost the Nigerian economy more than $6 million. In addition potential investors may be unnerved by the prospect of sudden regulatory disruptions to the digital economy.