Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Nigeria  

Mon, Jun 17, 2024
By editor

Featured, Politics

Social media has increasingly become an integral part of the Nigerian society, shaping how people interact, consume information and engage in public discourse. From activism and connectivity to misinformation and cyberbullying, social media is having a profound impact on the country. Recent reports suggest that the effects are a mixed bag of positive, negative and troubling effects on the society. 

 By Anthony Isibor    

THE Social media has provided a platform for Nigerians to connect, organize and mobilize for social and political purposes. In recent years, the role of social media in demanding accountability from the government and advocating for social justice has been particularly noteworthy. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook have facilitated conversations on human rights, good governance, and gender equality and have amplified the voices of marginalized communities. 

Additionally, social media has been a game-changer for entrepreneurship and small businesses in Nigeria. It has enabled individuals to showcase their products and services, reach wider audiences and participate in e-commerce. Influencers and content creators have also leveraged social media to build successful businesses and engage with their followers, contributing to the growth of the digital economy. 

The most recent impact of social media as a tool for citizens advocacy was a video which revealed that some steel fittings installed on the Second Niger Bridge were being vandalized and stolen by persons suspected to be vandals.  

The video, which went viral and drew the attention of the authorities to the incident, was made by Zeus Usulor, a social media influencer, who is also known as lordzeus. 

He said, “This is the new bridge the federal government constructed for the good of the people, but some vandals have uprooted and vandalized the railings that connect the bridge thereby subjecting unsuspecting drivers to danger, especially at night.

Today, that bridge has been fixed and the government is taking proactive measures to prevent a recurrence. 

The Bad:

Despite the positive impact of social media in the country, it is not without its downsides. The spread of fake news, hate speech and misinformation have been some of the concerns of many Nigerians. Some reports have highlighted how false information disseminated through the social media has fueled ethnic and religious tensions, leading to instances of violence and unrest. 

For instance, the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has expressed dismay at how the social media is used in the country.

According to him, the social media in Nigeria has been dragged down to “the lowest common denominator and taken over by “barbarians.”

He compares this with other societies where social media serves as valuable platforms for intellectual discourse, highlighting the absence of such reasoned engagement in the Nigerian context due to the influence of those who have compromised its intellectual integrity. 

Although the lack of regulation and oversight may be the reason why in Prof. Soyinka’s estimation, barbarians have taken over the use of this very important medium of information, the social media in Nigeria has a way of regulating itself and reinforcing values accepted by the majority.

For instance, a social media influencer, Saida Boj, was banned from major social media platforms, including TikTok, Facebook and Instagram handles after her podcast of controversial statements about men and relationships went viral. 

Boj, who was a guest on the Honest Bunch Podcast, had stated that a man would have to transfer N500,000 to her within 24 hours of ‘talking stage’.  According to her, the money is justified because she deserved to be paid for being beautiful. 

Her statements, however didn’t go down well with many users of the platforms raised their concerns and she was confronted with issues bordering on selling her body, but she insisted that a man, who gives her N20 million can enter anywhere in her body. For this reason she was reported and subsequently banned.

Also, some past events have shown that when influential people decide to advance certain ideologies that are not in line with the Nigerian value systems, their accounts were reported and consequently shut down.

If the government truly wants to assess the rate of policy acceptance by the majority, then reactions to social media must be included in the reports of constituents through their parliamentarians.

The Ugly:

Perhaps, one of the most troubling aspects of social media in the country is the rise of online fraud, scams and cybercrime. Reports have shown an increase in fraudulent activities, including phishing, identity theft and financial scams. The anonymity and global reach of social media platforms have made it easier for perpetrators to exploit unsuspecting individuals, leading to financial losses and personal distress.

Moreover, the spread of hate speech and incendiary content on social media has contributed to the climate of intolerance and division. In extreme cases, it has led to threats, harassment and even physical violence against individuals and communities.

In reality, the impact of social media in the country is multifaceted, encompassing both positive and negative dimensions. While it has empowered citizens, facilitated economic opportunities and amplified voices, it has also given rise to serious challenges related to misinformation, mental health and digital security. However, addressing these issues will require the concerted efforts from all the stakeholders, including policymakers, tech companies, civil society organisations and individual users to harness the numerous benefits of social media, while checking its negative effects.


June 17, 2024 @ 18:18 GMT|