Nigerians on social networking platform, Twitter, have devised a new method of protesting against the President Muhammadu Buhari administration by spaming tweets posted to his verified Twitter handle as a form of civil disobedience as repression grows in the country.
Buhari’s administration is notorious for militarising and disrupting peaceful protests, jailing journalists and rights activists while social media influencers have also disappeared under his administration.
The protest, which has been ongoing for weeks, became more prominent on August 20 when Buhari a 12-second video was posted to his account @mbuhari saying, “Our goal is simple, to provide quality infrastructure to build prosperity to millions of Nigerians in both urban and rural areas.”
In response to the video, Nigerians on Twitter in a delibrate attempt spammed the post with multiple tweets saying, “IFB” or “I follow back” in net-speak, a word users of the micro blogging platform use to grow their followers.
When Buhari’s account posted about Nigeria’s polio free status on August 25, a congratulatory message to Akinwunmi Adesina on August 27 on his re-election to the Africa Development Bank, his meeting with African leaders about the coup in Mali and a post on Nigeria’s diversification to gold on August 28, users derailed the conversation by taking over the comment section using “IFB” and “BuhariResign”.
This type of protest is not new.
In June 2020, fans of Korean music group, BTS, spammed posts of Uniter States President, Donald Trump and other popular conservatives by using their page to incite racial tensions in the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd.
Similarly, the Dallas Police Department put out a call on Twiter for people to report “illegal activity from the protests” via its iWatch Dallas app but instead, K-pop stans called on each other to spam the app with videos of the music group as a move to protect protesters.
Shortly afterwords, the app crashed temporarily.