Kenyans are crying foul over the suspension of the Twitter account of an influential blogger, Cyprian Nyankundi, who has garnered a huge following for exposing illicit government officials and deals.
Nyankundi, who calls himself the ‘Boychild president’ on Twitter was suspended on Monday, after he posted ‘compromising’ pictures of a prominent public figure.
He has since opened a new account and urged his followers to keep up with his updates on another platform.
Free expression doesn’t really mean much if people don’t feel safe.
Kenyans on Twitter have since started a #BringBackNyankundi campaign asking Twitter to revoke the suspension, arguing that Nyankundi has consistently exposed rot in the public service, and should not be penalised for that.
I just called— Thee Trend Setter ™ (@xtiandela) July 31, 2018
C_NyaKundiHand he is fine. He tells me that his account was suspended after leaking a photo of some media house's boss. He is in contact with Twitter and he wants me to assure #KOT that the boy child president is coming back!#BringBackNyakundi #NRGBreakfastClub
I don’t understand but— Rein (Asamoh_) July 31, 2018
C_NyaKundiHmight have been suspended for posting the pictures of Radio Africa and two ridders. Well, Twitter you need to review your rules and regulations. How do bloggers call on “ Sex pests “ ? #BringBackNyakundi and restore his account.
Kenya’s Top Anti Corruption Watchdog, News Provider and Number One Public Informer— Muhammad Otweyo (M_otweyo) July 31, 2018
C_NyaKundiH's account has been suspended. Can Twitter
TwitterSupportexplain to Kenyans why they are infringing on C_NyaKundiH‘s rights?? #BringBackNyakundi
Nyankundi’s case is the latest high profile suspension of influencers in East Africa, as Twitter continues its notorious purge to rid the platform of ‘nots’ and non-compliant users.
With the rampant changes to Twitter from suspension of verification process, to wiping out all accounts thought to be bots and now closing accounts of users may slowly but steadily kill this platform. Please— The President ?????? (Ugaman01) July 31, 2018
jackmove faster and avert the situation. #BringBackNyakundi
Have those that had their Twitter accounts suspended gone beyond 1500 real followers oba they will be throwing more parties to beg real people to follow them?— #ThisTaxMustGo (@tomddumba) 30 juillet 2018
obufere bwa tabu.
let me show you how brutal it was. Don’t let Arthur confuse you..he’s trying to follow people to follow him..he’s trying to rig Twitter again. those two accounts were suspended and Pyepar has so far thrown a party to get followers pic.twitter.com/b1b8yuazNo— #ThisTaxMustGo (@tomddumba) 30 juillet 2018
Twitter’s ‘free speech’ balancing act
Twitter has been desperately cleaning up its platform after by strictly enforcing rules aimed at curbing disinformation, propaganda and provocation.
In recent years Twitter, which has some 336 million active users, has faced sharp criticism for allegedly not doing enough to control the proliferation of bots and trolls created to spread disinformation.
Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president for trust and safety said the company is changing “how we think about balancing free expression versus the potential for free expression to chill someone else’s speech.”
“Free expression doesn’t really mean much if people don’t feel safe,” Harvey told the Washington Post last month.
Following the accusations that the social network was manipulated to influence key events like the 2016 US election, Twitter has since confirmed how bots had been used to sow political divisions and spread hoaxes.
To maintain a safe environment for users on Twitter, the platform says it suspends accounts that violate rules that include:
- Spammy or fake accounts
- Accounts suspected to have been hacked
- Accounts reported to be engaging in abusive behaviour like sending threats or impersonating other accounts
Read more on Twitter Rules
#BringBackNyakundi— #BringBackNyakundi Ke FINEST ™?? (@ke_finest) July 31, 2018
jackWacha kutubeba Ufala na Nyinyi The El Presidentie was doing is workbof exposing Evil in Our Society then You unashamedly SUSPEND His Account #KOT Will RESIST Twitter Also Permanently realDonaldTrump Must RESPOND ASAP. pic.twitter.com/YVZBcZYjE0