Nigeria compels social media giants to open local offices

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The Nigerian government has announced new regulations for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other internet and social media platforms operating in the country.

Chief among new regulations is for the social media giants to open offices in Nigeria this year so that they can be regulated properly.

This comes after Nigeria lifted its Twitter ban in the country. Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) released the regulations five months after a six-month ban on Twitter. The giant social media platform was banned in the country last year after it removed a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account with regard to freedom of expression in Africa.

The Guardian reports that the new regulations imposed on the social media giants will ensure that the digital ecosystem is safe for “Nigerians and non-Nigerians” living in the country.

Five of the rules that the Nigerian government is imposing on the social media platforms as per The Guardian include:

  • Nigerian office in the first quarter of 2022
  • Appointment of a country representative
  • Compliance with applicable tax obligations
  • Nigeria to have access to manage ‘prohibited’ content
  • Respect for Nigerian laws and the national culture and history

Twitter, the controversial social media platform, apparently had to agree to these five conditions before its ban was lifted. Other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Google have reportedly agreed to the conditions.

The Nigerian government said that the social media platforms should comply with the new regulations in order to continue operating in the country.

The code also said that the platforms should provide information on harmful accounts including a comprehensive compliance mechanism to avoid the publication of prohibited content and unethical behaviour on their platforms.

“Other relevant stakeholders with peculiar knowledge in this area were consulted such as Civil Society Organizations and expert groups. The results of these consultations were duly incorporated into the Draft Code of Practice,” NITDA spokesperson Hadiza Umar said.

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