A Nigerian lady, Amonia Rita Stewart, who is a popular Facebook cooking sensation and critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, has written Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zukerberg, after her Facebook account was blocked and denied access in what she described as “an undue closure of her account”.
Amonia Rita Stewart holding the letter she sent via DHL to Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg Amonia Rita Stewart holding the letter she sent via DHL to Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg
Stewart highlighted the possibility of her account being blocked because she is a critic of the Buhari led administration and appealed to Zuckerberg to unblock her account. Stewart became a sensation with her usual morning teaser “Morning Tea” which has attracted her 5000 Facebook friends and over 8000 followers. Her video post on “how to make a soup” was shared over 7000 times with more than 100,000 views. Stewart, an unrepentant critic of the Buhari government, alleged that her account may be a victim of the Buhari’s led government’s crackdown on opposition online voices on social media.
A copy of the letter made available to journalists this Weekend read:
Dear Mark Zuckerberg,
UNDUE CLOSURE OF MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT
I write you from Nigeria and I hope this letter meets you well. I am writing directly to you as all other avenues put on Facebook to communicate with your team has yielded no result. It is sad to note that Facebook, in as much it connects people, as an organization has one of the most unfriendly and rigid customer services in the world where people with genuine issues, like myself, relating to Facebook are frustrated over lack of an effective user-Facebook communications channel.
I am writing you in connection with my Facebook Account – AMONIA RITA STEWART, which was unduly closed and locked out of access. On the 19th of September, 2016 my Facebook account, Amonia Rita Stewart with log in phone number +2348034922094 was suddenly deactivated. I do not know the reason why my account was deactivated but I assume it was reported as fake, which is not true. After my account was deactivated I was asked by Facebook to verify my account with a Government issued ID, which I have done on two separate occasions too when my account was previously reported and deactivated by Facebook and I had no issues verifying my account then. But this time, after uploading my ID , the ID refused uploading and I get an error message saying: “something went wrong, we are working on it”. I have tried uploading my ID several times, I still get the same error message. After several attempts at uploading my ID to no avail, I tried filling out the Appeal Form for Disabled Accounts but the reply I got was that my account is not associated with a disabled account. I also used the option of filling the form of “if I am having difficulty verifying my account” but the feedback I got was that I would be contacted by Facebook if more details are needed. As at the time of writing this letter no contact has been made by Facebook to me. These past weeks have been harrowing for me especially as my SMS is synced with my Messenger.
I am using this medium to appeal to you to forward my case to the relevant department so as to reactivate my account. I love Facebook and it is the only social media I use and I miss it. I have done nothing wrong for my account to be deactivated except if there is something going on I don’t know about and in that case at least I deserve to know.
I am a political analyst and social commentator siding mostly with the opposition party in my country and popular opinions suggest that my account may have been shutdown as part of a plot by the government of Nigeria to clamp down on opposition social media voices. I strongly hope my case is unconnected with such suspected political conspiracy theory. This theory now seems believable as many opposition “online voices” seem to be recently associated with one issue or the other relating to their Facebook accounts. Some have been banned from making post for as long as 30 days, others shorter, while many have to do re-verification. We hope these are not signs of any form of an attack on “Freedom of Speech” in Nigeria using Facebook. This tend more to the truth as the Nigerian government is currently cracking down on opposition voices using a state tool called “EFCC” and controlled by the presidency. We are weary that these rampant Facebook sanctions on opposition users could be related to these deliberate crackdown by the Nigerian government.
I hope my case would be used to send a message to the Nigerian users. Please, note that I changed my log in option last year November from my email firstname.lastname@example.org to my mobile number +2348034922094 and in this letter I have attached copies of my government issued ID, screen shots of my experience since this ordeal started and the e-mail I received from Facebook when I changed my log in options. My e-mail is still valid and I can be reached on it or on the phone number stated in this letter. I am looking forward to having a positive reply from Facebook.
My regards to your lovely wife Priscilla, your daughter Max and your amazing dog Beast- I also love dogs.
Amonia Rita Stewart