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Sudanese Citizens Decry Exclusion from Twitter’s Geographical Regions

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Sudanese citizens have expressed frustration over Twitter’s refusal to recognize the country as a Geographical region, locking out new potential users from signing up using their local phone numbers.

Since the ouster of Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir in 2014, the country has managed to clear its image and shake off a couple of sanctions. For instance, the US removed the East African nation from a list of States financing terrorism. The country’s membership in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) was also reinstated.

Tech giants Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle also amended their rules, lifting a ban on the provision of services in Sudan.

Read: Sudan Resolves to Hand Over Ex-President Omar al-Bashir to ICC

However, the country is yet to make headway with social media giant, Twitter. The company has reportedly refused to recognize Sudan as a geographical region despite previous promises to do so.

“I cannot create an account with my [local Sudanese] number and any time there is an [security] issue [with my Twitter account ] I must contact someone outside Sudan to clear it up for me [using their phone number]” explained the activist who asked not to be identified by name.” a Twitter user going by the name @coladabey2 explained.

“This is just a total waste of time and effort and also puts my Twitter account at risk of being hacked and eventually losing it” he added.

“If my account gets suspended I am unable to cover events in Sudan and tweet about them”.

Read also: Sudan, Tanzania, Among Countries With Cheapest Internet Data Plans in Africa

Sudanese Twitter users have on multiple occasions raised the issue, even tagging former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey with no success. Reports however indicate that Dorsey once responded to the campaigns in 2018 promising to set up the country as a region on the bird app, but since then nothing has materialized. No reason has been provided for Twitter’s failure to go through with the process.

Another Twitter user, Ahmed Al-Taher, lamented that he had to use a non-Sudanese phone number, putting him at the mercy of someone outside the nation.

“If Twitter logs me out for any reason I have to wait for that person [outside Sudan] to send me the verification code sent to his mobile phone”.

“Many users in Sudan have simply given up on Twitter as a result of the hassle involved in setting up a new account. It is very frustrating and unfair. We deserve an explanation ” Karrar Hamid who runs the largest Sudanese media and services platform on Twitter said.

Read also: US Supreme Court Orders Sudan To Pay 1998 Bombing Victims In Kenya And Tanzania Billions In Damages

The users also lamented that the US-based tech company has repeatedly refused to verify accounts owned by public figures and institutions including government officials, entertainers, and media outlets.

Despite supplying all needed papers, Twitter reportedly denied Sudanese Ambassador to the United States Nureldin Satti’s request for verification late last year.

While some have argued that sanctions are to blame, Sudanese citizens say that Twitter recognizes US-sanctioned countries like Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela as geographical places.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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