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FG mulls social media regulation due to abuse

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By Abraham Adekunle

There are concerns regarding deliberate misinformation and abuse.

In a bid to address the rising tide of misinformation and abuse on social media platforms, the Federal Government of Nigeria has announced its intention to enact regulations targeting these online spaces. The announcement came on Friday during the presentation of a new book titled “Nigerian Public Discourse: The Interplay of Empirical Evidence and Hyperbole,” authored by former Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, in Lagos. Representing President Bola Tinubu at the event, Chief of Staff Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila highlighted the government’s concerns regarding the dissemination of fake information through social media channels.

He stressed the need for regulatory measures to combat this phenomenon, which has the potential to mislead and confuse citizens. “In the world today, public discourse is driven by alternative facts, dropped with reckless abandon on social media, thereby creating false realities to confuse and deceive people,” Gbajabiamila remarked. The move towards social media regulation reflects broader global trends, where governments grapple with the challenges posed by the unregulated dissemination of information online. Nigeria, like many other countries, has witnessed the rapid proliferation of digital platforms, providing a fertile ground for the spread of misinformation and the incitement of social unrest.

Past attempts and ongoing debate about social media regulation.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Nigeria has considered regulating social media. The country has a history of grappling with the complexities of online communication. In 2019, there were attempts to introduce a Social Media Bill that sought to regulate the use of social media and curb the spread of false information. However, the proposed legislation was met with widespread criticism, with many viewing it as an attempt to stifle free speech and muzzle dissent. Despite the backlash, concerns about the unchecked spread of misinformation persist, prompting renewed discussions on the need for regulatory frameworks tailored to the digital age.

President Tinubu underscored the urgency of the situation, emphasizing the importance of evidence-based discourse and data-driven decision-making in navigating the complexities of modern governance. “In this historical moment, as we confront and overcome the challenges that threaten our future, we have an obligation as leaders in politics and government to engage in evidence-based discourse and data-reliant decision-making as a matter of course,” Tinubu asserted. He further emphasized the role of citizens in shaping public discourse and fostering a shared understanding of truth and reality in an era characterized by information overload and polarizing narratives.

Tinubu praises Fashola’s Book on Public Discourse.

“This is a world where nothing is real, politics is fuelled by emotive arguments, and objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to identity and personal belief,” Tinubu remarked. In aligning with the theme of the event, Tinubu commended the author, Babatunde Fashola, for his insightful analysis of Nigerian public discourse. Fashola’s book delves into the intricate dynamics of public communication, shedding light on the interplay between empirical evidence and hyperbolic narratives.

Throughout his tenure in public service, Fashola demonstrated a commitment to tackling complex challenges and finding pragmatic solutions. His book represents a continuation of this legacy, offering valuable insights that can inform policy-making and enhance public discourse. “I am confident that the insights of this book will enlighten, influence, and improve our public discourse. It will impact the way we make decisions in government at all levels as we strive collectively to meet the promise and overcome the perils of this critical moment in our nation and in the history of the world,” Tinubu affirmed.

Related Article: Social media becomes news content platform

As Nigeria navigates the complexities of the digital age, the debate over social media regulation is likely to intensify day by day. Balancing the imperative of free speech with the need to safeguard against the harmful effects of misinformation remains a formidable challenge for policymakers. Yet, as the government seeks to chart a path forward, the voices of citizens and stakeholders will be crucial in shaping a regulatory framework that reflects the realities of contemporary communication dynamics.


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Ask Nigeria
Member
20 days ago

FG mulls social media regulation due to abuse.There are concerns regarding deliberate misinformation and abuse.Express your point of view.

Taiwo
Member
19 days ago

Due to abuse, FG is considering regulating social media. Concerns have been raised about intentional disinformation and misuse.Concerns regarding intentional misinformation and abuse on social media are justified. Addressing these concerns is vital, but so is striking an agreement between regulation and upholding the right to free speech.

Kazeem1
Member
19 days ago

The Federal Government of Nigeria stated its desire to establish legislation aimed at these online spaces in order to curb the increasing amount of disinformation and abuse on social media platforms. Regulating social media will improve its misuse and misdirection, which is becoming worse.

Adeoye Adegoke
Member
19 days ago

There are definitely concerns about the abuse and deliberate spread of misinformation on social media. It’s important to address these issues and find ways to promote responsible use of these platforms.
Regulating social media is a complex topic that requires careful consideration. On one hand, it’s crucial to protect individuals from harmful content and prevent the spread of false information. On the other hand, we also need to ensure that any regulations put in place don’t infringe on freedom of speech or stifle innovation and creativity.
Finding the right balance is key. It’s important for the government to work collaboratively with social media platforms, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to develop effective strategies that address the concerns while upholding democratic values.
Education and awareness also play a vital role in promoting responsible use of social media. By teaching digital literacy skills and encouraging critical thinking, we can empower individuals to navigate the online world in a safe and responsible manner.