The total number of Twitter users in Nigeria quoted by many Nigerian media following the announcement of the ban of the microblogging platform by the federal government was 40 million.
This figure corresponds to a survey report by NOIPolls. According to the public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls, “39.6 million Nigerians have a Twitter account”.
Analysing the methodology employed for the poll, NOIPolls stated, “The opinion poll was conducted in the week commencing October 14th, 2019.
“It involved telephone interviews of a proportionate nationwide sample of 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning female Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical regions and 36 states and the FCT of the country.
“Interviews were conducted in 5 languages – Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Pidgin English and English”.
However, an analysis by Africa Check argued the basis of the NOIPolls results is erroneous.
Dr Isiaka Olarewaju, a statistician, previously the head of household statistics at the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) told Africa Check, “Going by the methodology, they cannot say 39.6 million Nigerians use Twitter. They sampled adults, 18 years and older, which is a fraction of Nigeria’s population.
“It is wrong to apply the 20% to the entire population. Also, it needs to be narrowed down to social media users.”
Kayode Ayinde, a professor of statistics at the Federal University of Technology at Akure in southwest Nigeria, also faulted the poll’s methodology and conclusion.
Ayinde told Africa Check that the possibility of having a Twitter account depended on many factors, including literacy, poverty and access to the internet.
Social media use also varied across the country, he said. “You are more likely to find Twitter users in southern cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt than in the north. So interviewing 1,000 phone-owning adults randomly is wrong.”
Africa Check claimed it contacted Twitter to request for the total number of users in Nigeria but the company’s spokesperson, Gareth Field, said; “We do not disclose such information externally”.
Nigeria is not in Statista’s list of the top 20 countries ranked by Twitter users. Malaysia is 20th, with 3.4 million active users. This indicates that Nigeria may have fewer users than that.
In a 2021 digital report, Hootsuite estimates that Nigeria has 33 million active social media users. Twitter is ranked as the country’s sixth most used platform, behind WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
The report says a Twitter ad in Nigeria has a potential audience of 3.05 million people. But it adds that audience figures “may not represent unique individuals or match the active user base”.
Hootsuite says its data is sourced from several third party providers, including GlobalWebIndex, GSMA Intelligence, Statcounter, Alexa, and Statista.
In the end, Africa Check argues the number of Twitter users in Nigeria should be about 3 million instead of the 40 million claimed by NOIPoll.