Nairaland founder reacts to website shut down over “abuse report”

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An unexpected interruption recently struck Nairaland, a major Nigerian news community forum that has been running since 2008.

An abuse complaint that was disregarded until it caused a major setback was the cause of this pause.

According to what Nairametrics found, the website has been presenting an error message saying “Web server is down” for around 12 hours.

The founder of Nairaland, Seun Osewa, said on social media (X) that the hosting provider of the site had taken down the site after this unresolved abuse allegation from earlier this month was found.

Osewa tweeted out a timeline of what happened and the difficulties encountered when trying to restore the website. He explained the difficulties of fixing the problem and the measures being taken to avoid it happening again in a series of tweets.

What Seun Osewa said 

  • “Nairaland’s server was taken down because I overlooked an abuse report that was originally sent on the 14th. After the takedown, I removed the offensive content. The UI for bringing back the server didn’t work, so it took hours to get support on how to get that done. 
  • “Minutes after the forum was brought back, they took the server down again with no warning. I’m guessing that the content I removed was still cached on Cloudflare servers, so they could still see it. I have cleared the caches now, but they are not communicating. I hope they will communicate tomorrow. If you have any ideas for working with abuse teams, please share. My track record is abysmal. 
  • See the link to his tweets.

Osewa said that the technical support team informed the abuse team that the server could not be reactivated until the evaluation was complete, which may take up to 48 hours. Osewa, in an effort to demonstrate humility, stressed the difficulties of speeding up the procedure.

  • “Our host took the server down as punishment for not responding to the abuse report on time. All we need is for a kind human to review the case and reverse the block. It is really a small issue that should have been resolved in less than 2 minutes.” 
  • His tweets

The exact posts that may have caused the platform to be shut down are not yet known. Results from FinancialExpert NG, which were retrieved from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, also show that the site was last accessible at the end of December.

Even though Nairaland is currently down for the time being, this incident shows how difficult it is for platforms to responsibly manage content while still protecting users’ right to free speech.

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