Nairaland, a popular Nigerian online forum and the country’s seventh-most-visited website, is back up two days after it was blacklisted by Cloudflare, an American content delivery company and Nairaland’s host. The platform is now back online temporarily to serve its vibrant community of three million users, Seun Osewa, the founder of Nairaland, shared in a statement this morning.

“So we had to transfer Nairaland to a temporary host in order to bring it back to you. A very time-consuming process. We are not fully back, even though most features of the site are working. We still have a long way to go. Additional downtime is likely; don’t let it alarm you,” the statement read.

Osewa said he was working to restore the site permanently. Osewa first tweeted on Monday evening that Nairaland’s website was down due to “an unscheduled maintenance operation” by Cloudflare. By Tuesday afternoon, Osewa tweeted that the Nairaland forum was taken down for a different reason. He shared that Cloudflare implemented a takedown after an overlooked abuse report was filed two weeks ago.

With the return of Nairaland which allows users to create content around a wide range of topics and has helped build communities around news, politics, entertainment, and technology, many are now speculating on the potential content moderation changes that might await the platform as it navigates the aftermath of this incident. There have also been calls for a revamped design of the site, which has maintained the same design since its launch. However, media experts and users of the website say these possible improvements are likely to be weighed against the platform’s core identity and the sense of community.

Osewa’s previous tweets hinted at potential updates, acknowledging the need for Nairaland to evolve and make some changes to its existing content moderation practices and perhaps its interface, which has remained unchanged since its launch in 2005. 

Beyond Nairaland’s internal considerations, the episode raises broader questions about the power held by internet gatekeepers like Cloudflare and the potential for unintended consequences in their content moderation efforts. Will this incident spark a wider discussion about platform accountability and transparency in the face of such takedowns?

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