Nigeria has announced plans to regulate internet companies like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram (all owned by Meta), Google and TikTok in a plan shared by the country’s internet regulator.
This information, released Monday by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), can be viewed on its website and Twitter page.
Just six months ago, Nigeria lifted the ban on Twitter, six months after it was first declared a crackdown on the social media giant in the country.
According to a memo written by Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, NITDA’s managing director to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, at the time, one of the three conditions accepted by Twitter – for his reinstatement – was to create “a legal entity in Nigeria during the first quarter of 2022”.
Others included paying taxes locally and working with the Nigerian government to regulate harmful content and tweets.
We’re halfway through the year and it looks like none of the conditions have been met yet. But that hasn’t stopped the government from moving forward to extend these requirements to other internet companies: platforms owned by Meta, Twitter and Google.
the disorganized is entitled “Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries”. The internet regulator says the terms aim to “protect the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and non-Nigerians living in the country” as well as “set guidelines for interacting on the digital ecosystem.”
These include in particular the following:
- Establish a legal entity; in other words, register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of the country.
- Appoint a designated representative of the country to interact with the Nigerian authorities.
- Comply with all regulatory requirements after establishing a legal presence.
- Comply with all tax obligations applicable to its operations under Nigerian law.
- Provide a comprehensive compliance mechanism to avoid publishing prohibited content[s] and unethical behavior on their platform.
- Provide information to authorities about harmful accounts, suspected botnets, troll groups and other coordinated disinformation networks and remove any information that violates Nigerian law within an agreed timeframe.
“The new global reality is that the activities carried out on these online platforms exert enormous influence on our society, our social interactions and our economic choices. Therefore, the Code of Practice is an intervention aimed at recalibrating the relationship of online platforms with Nigerians to maximize mutual benefits for our nation,” Hadiza Umar, the agency’s Head of Corporate Affairs, said in the statement. Press.
NITDA said it wrote the project with a presidential directive. He also claimed to be working with Nigeria’s communications and broadcasting regulators – and welcomed feedback from internet companies his project affects.
The agency said the draft is open for public review and comment. However, given the backlash it received after Twitter was banned and fears of surveillance and stifling of free speech by the Nigerian government, it is unclear why the agency went from forward to draft this project.
But this is not the first time the Nigerian government has attempted to regulate social media platforms; he’s flirted with the idea for the past two years. The latest was last June, when the government, in the same press release announcing the Twitter ban, ordered the broadcasting regulator, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), to begin the process of granting licenses for the operations of social media and OTT platforms in the country, which also included YouTube, Zoom, WhatsApp and Skype.
NITDA’s project is the latest development on this front, and according to some Nigerians, it is likely to stop there. But others fear that the Nigerian government is going too far and suspending the operations of these internet platforms. just like he did with Twitterif they do not respect its regulations.
It’s a story that develops…