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Nigerians angry about their government’s recent banning of Twitter Inc. have understandably focused their ire on President Muhammadu Buhari: It was Twitter’s decision to take down his tweet implicitly warning separatists that they could suffer the same violent end as former Biafran rebels that prompted the crackdown.

But the Nigerian ban should be a warning to U.S. lawmakers and activists, too. Their efforts to rein in U.S.-based social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook Inc. risk restricting democratic freedoms worldwide.

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