The economic cost of Nigeria’s internet shutdown was $82.7 million in 2022. The new figure indicates a 94 percent decline in 2021’s value of $1.45 billion a Top10VPN cost of internet shutdown report shows.
The report stated that the social media shutdown by Nigeria also reduced to 287 hours last year from 5,040 hours in 2021.
“The Nigerian government extended the nationwide Twitter ban, first imposed in June 2021, into January 2022. The ban followed the removal of a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari on Twitter, as it was in breach of the platform’s rules.”
“Although the Nigerian government announced plans to restore Twitter access in October 2021, based on the condition that the social media platform would be used for “business and positive engagement”, the ban would not be lifted until the following January. The 222-day-long ban cost the Nigerian economy a total of $1.54 billion over the two calendar years,” it reports.
Ilze Brands Kehris, assistant secretary general of the United Nations human right office said that shutdowns are generally imposed without much transparency, justification, or judicial or democratic oversight.
“Internet shutdowns cause profound damage to our societies. Given their indiscriminate and disproportionate impact, governments should refrain from imposing shutdowns. It is a tool that is very hard to justify, if at all, under international human rights law,” she said, adding that such shutdowns can also have unintended consequences, such as disruption to supply chains or health and welfare systems.
According to the report, the cost of government shutdown rose by 325 percent from $5.6 billion in 2021 to $23.79 billion in 2022.
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However, there were 114 major deliberate Internet outages in 23 countries last year, increasing total hours of government internet disruptions to 45 percent, 50,095 hours in the period under review.
A breakdown of the shutdowns include Internet blackouts which lasted for 23,097 hours. Internet throttling downtime stood at 134 hours while Social media blocks took a further 26,865 hours.
Also, 710 million people were affected by deliberate internet outages in 2022, up 41 percent year-on-year.
Twitter emerged as the most blocked social media platform, suffering 21,650 hours of deliberate disruption, 56 percent more than Instagram and 64 percent more than Facebook. The report said Russia is the most affected nation ($21.59 billion), followed by Iran ($773 million) and Kazakhstan ($410.7 million).
Similarly, 51 percent of government internet outages were associated with additional human rights abuses, a 30 percent decrease compared with 2021: 51 percent of all internet disruptions were also associated with restrictions on freedom of assembly. Three percent with election interference and 11 percent with infringements on freedom of the press.
The report, which calculates the total economic impact of every major deliberate internet outage and social media shutdown around the world, said these outages infringe on citizens’ digital rights and also cause economic self-harm.
In other to calculate the cost of internet shutdown the report explained that “We monitor every national and region-wide internet outage and social media shutdown imposed by governments around the world in order to determine the duration and extent of the restrictions. This allows us to accurately calculate the economic impact of each internet shutdown using the COST tool.”
This tool was developed by internet monitoring NGO Netblocks. It is based on indicators from the World Bank, ITU, Eurostat and US Census.