Nigeria: Common types of social media networks and websites in Nigeria, including whether there are some that are only accessible from within Nigeria [NGA105656.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Internet and Social Media Use

A research brief by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) [1] and Gallup [2] indicates, based on a survey of 4,000 Nigerian adults carried out between 27 January and 21 March 2014 in all states of Nigeria except Borno state (due to security concerns), that 22.9 percent of respondents reported having Internet access at home and that mobile phone ownership was 87 percent (BBG and Gallup [30 Apr. 2014], 2). The research brief also notes that 55.1 percent of those who reported not having a mobile phone themselves indicated that they have access to a mobile phone owned by someone else (ibid.). In its Digital in 2016 report, We Are Social, a UK-based global marketing agency (We Are Social n.d.), states that, based on information gathered from sources that include the UN, the US Census Bureau, and the Nigerian Communications Commission, there are 97.21 million people who are "active internet users" and 15 million who are "active social media users" out of the total Nigerian population of 184.6 million (ibid. 27 Jan. 2016). The same report indicates that 84 percent of the population has a mobile phone connection, and 6 percent are described as "an active mobile social user" (ibid.). We Are Social's 2015 report, which was based on information obtained through Facebook and Wikipedia, indicates that there were 70.3 million "active internet users" and 13.6 million "active social media accounts" (ibid. 20 Jan 2015). The same sources states that 75 percent of the population had a mobile connection, and that there were 12.4 million "social accounts" accessed via mobile, equivalent to 7 percent of the population (ibid.).

2. Social Media Websites

According to Alexa, an online web traffic analysis service (Alexa n.d.a), the 15 "top sites" [3] in Nigeria for the month of September 2016 were: Google.com, Google.com.ng, YouTube.com, Facebook.com, Yahoo.com, Twitter.com, Nigerian discussion forum Nairaland.com, shopping portal Jumia.com.ng, Instagram.com, LinkedIn.com, Wikipedia.org, Lindaikejisblog.com, Blogger.com, Mmmoffice.com, and mobile social network Eskimi.com (ibid. n.d.b). A 2014 report by Africa Practice, a "strategy and communications consultancy" (Africa Practice n.d.), cites information obtained from Alexa as stating that the top ten blogs and forums in Nigeria are:

  • Nairaland, a website forum;
  • Linda Ikeji's Blog, a "[g]ossip" website;
  • Naij, a news website also considered "[t]he Yahoo of Nigeria";
  • BellaNaija, a "[g]ossip" website;
  • Jobberman, a career website for job seekers within Nigeria;
  • Notjustjok, a music entertainment website;
  • 360nobs, an entertainment website;
  • Nigerian Entertainment Today, an entertainment news website; and
  • YNaija, a politics and opinion website (ibid. 2014, 27-32).

A February 2016 public opinion poll on social media use and online dating of 1,000 "[r]andomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above" conducted by NOI-Polls, a Nigeria-based polling company (NOI-Polls, n.d.), found that 63 percent of respondents indicated that they were social media users (ibid. 23 Feb. 2016). The same source states that the social media platforms most used by respondents were Facebook (91 percent), Twitter (17 percent), Instagram (10 percent), and LinkedIn (5 percent) (ibid.). The BBG and Gallup research brief indicates that, out of the 29.2 percent of Nigerians who reported having used a social networking service within the week prior to the administration of the survey, Facebook was "by far the most popular social networking service" used at 93.2 percent (BBG and Gallup [30 Apr. 2014], 2). Concerning online dating websites or social media platforms, the NOI-Polls survey found that 72 percent of respondents reported using Facebook, and 5 percent Badoo (NOI-Polls 23 Feb. 2016).

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Head of the Design and New Media Department at the School of Media and Communication of the Pan-Atlantic University, a university based in Lagos, indicated that commonly used social media websites in Nigeria include online forums such as Nairaland; social network services, such as Facebook and Snapchat; personal blogs, such Linda Ikeji's Blog and BellaNaija; "microblogging" websites, such as Twitter; and "[c]ontent repositories," such as YouTube (Professor 5 Oct. 2016). Sources similarly reported that Facebook and Twitter are commonly used in Nigeria (Special Assistant 7 Oct. 2016; Associate Professor 7 Oct. 2016). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, an associate professor of journalism and emerging media at the School of Communication and Media at Kennesaw State University who researches "the intersection between new media and journalism in Nigeria including online sociability," further listed GooglePlus and Badoo as commonly used social media websites and networks (ibid. 7 Oct. 2016). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a special assistant to the President of Nigeria on digital/new media, who provided information based on his own personal viewpoint, further stated that Instagram and Linda Ikeji's Blog are commonly used social media websites (Special Assistant 7 Oct. 2016).

Sources indicated that Nairaland is a forum specific to Nigeria (ibid.; Professor 5 Oct. 2015; Associate Professor 7 Oct. 2016). The Associate Professor described the website as "not exactly a social media site, but [as] the largest Nigerian-centered online discussion forum which gets millions of visits from Nigeria and the Nigerian diaspora" (ibid.). The Professor also pointed to the following social media that are specific to Nigeria: Naijapals; Naijahotjobs; Naijaloaded; and "newspaper online commentaries [which] are also quite popular" (Professor 5 Oct. 2016). The Special Assistant indicated that "a relatively new" website is Wazobialand (7 Oct. 2016).

3. Social Media Applications

The Special Assistant indicated that 2go, Eskimi, WhatsApp, and Snapchat are among the most commonly used social media applications in Nigeria (7 Oct. 2016). According to the Africa Practice report, the mobile text applications with the most users in Nigeria are Eskimi, 2go, WhatsApp, and Blackberry Messenger (BBM) (Africa Practice 2014, 5-6). The poll administered by NOI-Polls notes that 73 percent of respondents reported using WhatsApp, 20 percent BBM, and 11 percent 2go (23 Feb. 2016). The research brief by BBG and Gallup also indicates that, out of the 29.2 percent of Nigerians who reported having used a social networking service within one week prior to the survey being conducted, 68.3 percent reported using 2go ([30 Apr. 2014], 2).

According to the poll facilitated by NOI-Polls, the most used social media applications for online dating were WhatsApp (15 percent), 2go (8 percent), and BBM (2 percent) (23 Feb. 2016). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

4. Nigeria-only Social Media

Sources indicated that they were not aware of any social media website or network that is only accessible from within Nigeria (Professor 5 Oct. 2016; Associate Professor 7 Oct. 2016; Special Assistant 7 Oct. 2016).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Notes

[1] The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) is an independent US federal agency "that oversees all U.S. civilian international media" (BBG n.d.). The mission of the BBG is "to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy" (ibid.).

[2] Gallup is a company that "delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems" (Gallup n.d.a). It does so by "using scientifically proven and accepted methodologies" to "track what the public is thinking on virtually every political, economic, and social issue that matters to society" (Gallup n.d.b).

[3] Alexa's website indicates that "[t]he top sites in the top sites list are ordered by their [one] month Alexa traffic. The [one] month rank is calculated using a combination of average daily visitors and page views over the past month. The site with the highest combination of visitors and page views is ranked #1" (Alexa n.d.c).

References

Africa Practice. 2014. The Social Media Landscape in Nigeria. 2014: The Who, the What and the Know. [Accessed 28 Sept. 2016]

Africa Practice. N.d. "Africa Practice." [Accessed 5 Oct. 2016]

Alexa. N.d.a. "Alexa." [Accessed 7 Oct. 2016]

Alexa. N.d.b. "Top Sites in Nigeria." [Accessed 6 Oct. 2016]

Alexa. N.d.c. "Top Sites in Nigeria." [The text is located in the pop-up window linked to the question mark]. [Accessed 6 Oct. 2016]

Associate Professor of journalism and emerging media, School of Communication and Media, Kennesaw State University. 7 October 2016. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). N.d. "Who We Are." [Accessed 4 Oct. 2016]

Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and Gallup. 30 April 2014. Contemporary Media Use in Nigeria. [Accessed 4 Oct. 2016]

Gallup. N.d.a. "About Gallup." [Accessed 14 Oct. 2016]

Gallup. N.d.b. "Methodology Center." [Accessed 14 Oct. 2016]

NOI-Polls. 23 February 2016. "Facebook Ranked No.1 Social Media and Online Dating Platform in Nigeria." [Accessed 7 Oct. 2016]

NOI-Polls. N.d. "About Us." [Accessed 7 Oct. 2016]

Professor and Head of the Design and New Media Department, School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University. 5 October 2016. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria. 7 October 2016. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

We Are Social. 27 January 2016. Digital in 2016. [Accessed 4 Oct. 2016]

We Are Social. 21 January 2015. Digital, Social & Mobile Worldwide in 2015. [Accessed 4 Oct. 2016]

We Are Social. N.d. "Capabilities." [Accessed 4 Oct. 2016]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Africa Practice; Lecturer, Mass Communication Department, University of Lagos; Nigeria CommunicationsWeek; OAfrica.

Internet sites, including: African Media Barometer; Amnesty International; BBC; Bertelsmann Stiftung; Daily Trust; ecoi.net; Factiva; Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme; Freedom House; The Guardian Nigeria; Human Rights Watch; International Center for Not-for-Profit Law; IRIN; Nigeria – Communications Commission; Norway – Landinfo; OAfrica; Radio France internationale; Socialbakers; The Sun; Terragon Group; This Day; UN – Refworld, ReliefWeb; University of Toronto – The Citizen Lab; US – Department of State; Vanguard.