A strange kind of war

The Brief And Bizarre ‘App Wars’ Set Off By The Twitter Ban In Nigeria

By  |  July 6, 2021

On Friday, June 18, 2021, Jason Njoku, co-founder and CEO of iROKO, was treated to some rather unsettling news that was probably a couple of days in the making. As it was, the iROKOtv app, a prominent video-on-demand platform for African movies, was simply under attack.

“At first, I was very concerned and a bit surprised. When someone first brought it to my attention, I basically didn’t say anything because I didn’t really know where it was going,” Njoku told WeeTracker over a call.

No, this was not some North Korean-type hacking incident. Remember how furious traders crashed Robinhood’s app rating to 1.1 out of 5 following the GameStop saga? Recall how aggrieved persons famously (or infamously) dropped 100,000 1-star reviews on the trading app in one hour?

Yes, that’s more like it - the iROKOtv app was being hit with ‘revenge reviews.’ Yes, it’s a thing. By the end of it all, the iROKOtv app would attract around 4,000 distinctly polarised ratings from Nigerians, combined with worded reviews, within a hectic 48-hour period.

For context, the app had, before the sudden surge, attracted a grand total of 28,000 ratings in all of its 9 years on the Play Store; an average of 8.5 per day. Surely, there had been an obscene spike sparked by a coordinated attempt to knock iROKOtv down. But how did we even get here?

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