Twitter ban: FG to extend new conditions to Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, other social media platforms

Twitter ban: FG to extend new conditions to Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, other social media platforms

The Federal Government (FG) is set to amend its relevant statutes and code to enforce the operational conditions applied to Twitter in Nigeria on other social media platforms.

The foregoing was disclosed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Mohammed made this known in Cairo at a meeting with his counterpart, the Egyptian Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Dr Amir Talaat.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of a bilateral discussion with the Africa Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) on how Nigeria can access funding to support its growing creative industry. Mohammed had led some private sector stakeholders involved in Digital Switch Over (DSO) to Afreximbank; notably to assist them on how they can source fund to complete the wholly private sector financially driven project.

In his interaction with Talaat, the minister disclosed that Nigeria was amending its National Broadcasting Act; as well as the Broadcasting Code to ensure that all online platforms operating in the country comply with stipulated conditions.

He revealed that the decision was borne out of the recent development on suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria; as well as the agreement reached before the suspension was lifted.

1st News reports that in addition to Twitter, a number of other social media platforms; including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, SnapChat, TikTok, Telegram and YouTube, among others, operate in Nigeria.

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“The beauty of the engagement with Twitter is immense.

“Whatever applies to Twitter will apply to all other social media platforms, be it WhatsApp, Facebook or any other. That is why we will be having a retreat to amend the NBC Act and the NBC Code to incorporate these new gains we made with the engagement with Twitter,’’ he said.

On the agreement reached which the minister said would be applicable to other online platforms; Mohammed said the micro blogging site had agreed to open a Nigerian office within the first quarter of 2022. Further, he said Twitter agreed to appoint a designated country representative within one month of lifting its suspension; while its global policy team would also be available to engage directly with the government

In addition, he disclosed that Twitter agreed to meet all regulatory demands in Nigeria; including Companies and Allied Matters Act, Nigeria Communication Commission laws and rules; as well as the National Broadcasting Commission Code. Also, he noted that the medium had agreed to comply with the existing tax regime in Nigeria.

“Twitter has agreed to comply to all payable taxes as they are operating under the Nigerian laws…This they agreed to do within one week of restoring their operations.

“Twitter agreed to immediately work with the Federal Government in the area of code of conduct which is in line with global best practices. Twitter agreed to immediately enroll Nigerians in its Law Enforcement portals and Partners Support Portal.

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“The law enforcement portal will provide dedicated channels for the Nigerian laws enforcement agencies to escalate reports on contents that violate the code of conduct or the national laws.

“Similarly, the partner support portal provides a direct channel for government to engage Twitter staff to manage prohibited contents,’’ he said.

The minister explained to his counterpart that Twitter operation was not suspended in Nigeria because they wrote something about the president as being carried about in certain quarters. Instead, he said the operation was suspended because it had become the platform of choice for those who wanted to destabilize Nigeria and create disunity and heat up the polity.

“We met with a barrage of knocks. We were accused of running an authoritarian government; trying to infringe on freedom of press, violating the constitution. But we were sure in our mind of what we were doing.

“We were glad that after seven months of serious engagement with Twitter; we can say that what we achieved is what the suspension of the operations of Twitter was all about.’’

Also speaking, the Egyptian minister said his country had similar challenges in the area of dissemination of policies and programmes of government. He said he was a recent victim of fake news report which was very devastating to him.

To combat the menace, he said a department was established in the office of the Prime Minister; adding that they monitor on hourly basis what kind of fake news was being cooked up.

Also, he said government would immediately react to such news by giving the truthful perspective to the issue.

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