Nigeria mandates social media platforms to have offices in Nigeria.
In the aftermath of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ban on Twitter in Nigeria and its subsequent lifting of the ban, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has about one year after suspending the platform, published a document titled “Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries,” which is intended to curb online abuse, misinformation, disinformation, hate speech, and fake news. The code of practice is in line with directive from the president who has tasked the NITDA with drafting the document. The spokesperson for the agency said in a statement dated June 13, 2022 that the regulations were developed with input from big tech companies such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, TikTok, Google, and other popular platforms in the country.
In the document, NITDA recognizes that public and private organizations “are gradually moving their businesses and information services online.” It also acknowledges that the internet has transformed and is still transforming our daily activities and that even children have a significant presence on the internet without necessarily being supervised. Thus, information and communication technology systems have become a vital infrastructure in the Nigerian society and it must be “safeguarded, regulated, and protected against online harm.”
NITDA mandates social media platforms to open a local office in Nigeria.
In the code of practice, NITDA said these platforms will be required to provide relevant information to users or authorized government agencies for the purpose of preserving security and public order. The Code includes a comprehensive compliance mechanism which the agency has required these platforms to adhere to. In addition, NITDA mandates all platforms whose users are more than one hundred thousand (100,000) to be incorporated in Nigeria; have a physical contact address in Nigeria, which the platform must publish on its website; appoint a liaison officer who will bridge the communication gap between the government and the platform; provide users of authorized agencies, upon request, with report of due process on their activities, and/or open investigation to ensure individuals are not targeted; and more.
In other words, these social media platforms must be registered entities legally documented with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), must open local offices, and must appoint a representative. The code of practice also states that some social media platforms with less than one hundred thousand may be mandated to comply with the requirements stated for those big social media platforms. The agency said that these conditions have been set thus for protecting the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and non-citizens living in the country, and they will also help to define the guidelines for interaction on the digital space.
The NITDA code of practice comes a year after Twitter ban.
The Federal Government of Nigeria, following a directive of President Buhari, suspended the activities of Twitter in Nigeria from June 5, 2021 to January 13, 2022. The ban on Twitter had come about a year after the platform was used to publicize, strategize, and mobilize for the #EndSARS protest which rocked the country in October 2020. Also, news that peaceful protesters have been shot at the Lekki Toll Gate was spread largely using the platform. Consequently, the government suspended Twitter on the grounds that it threatened the corporate existence of Nigeria.
Following serious backlash from internet users, stakeholders and concerned Nigerians, the government had said that it would lift the ban if Twitter set up a local office in Nigeria and paid taxes to the government. President Buhari has warned in his speech to Nigerians on the country’s 61st Independence Day anniversary to beware of bad actors who use the platform to “organize, coordinate and execute criminal activities, propagate fake news, and promote ethnic and religious sentiments.”
NITDA’s code of practice embodies guidelines required of Twitter.
On January 13, 2022, the government lifted the ban on Twitter and said that the social media platform had agreed to register a legal entity in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2022 as well as to other agreements, most of which can now be found in the code of practice. NITDA’s head of corporate affairs, Mrs. Hadiza Umar, has said in an accompanying press statement to the announcement of the code of practice that “the new global reality is that the activities conducted on these online platforms wield enormous influence over our society, social interaction and economic choices.”
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This is a very logical idea from NITDA; it will reduce the hate and trolling seen on social media daily
Yes, Twitter generates millions from Nigerians, yet they don’t have any single office here; yet they created an office in Ghana
This a good idea because some people because they know they can’t be traced would open fake profiles just to spread misinformation and insults
This is a welcome development from the government part with lots of millions these tech companies generate they need to have a registered office with CAC in Nigeria….I’m in total support
Buhari thinks he’s wise; he’s doing this one so people would not be able to drag him on social media apps. That’s how baba muted his comment section on Twitter because the dragging was too much lol
There should be a method of adequately verifying users before they can create accounts; this will also necessarily reduce all those vices committed on the platforms
This is a positive directive initiated by NITDA. Inasmuch as these big tech companies are earning profit from the services they provide for us in Nigeria, we also need to gain the dividends. They should open local offices where Nigerians can also be employed. It will help boost the economy and reduce the rate of unemployment in the society.
The world is getting advanced daily, and these social media platforms are helping a lot in terms of business promotion and all, so it is good that the government wants them to have a physical representative in the country
The government are right on this one, they should have offices in Nigeria that we can easily visit to lay our complaints and settle issues
Yes, because when they create offices, their excesses can be easily regulated and controlled; this is wonderful from NITDA
The Twitter ban was for a good cause. At the end of the day because them creating a branch here would seriously help our economy
Some use the site to organise, coordinate and carry out criminal operations, mislead the public, and incite racial and religious emotions. This would be highly curtailed if there was a branch in Nigeria
Banning twitter then was really a bad idea. The same people that fueled the ban are still using the platform for announcements.
It’s not bad having a policy but let’s always apply humanity to all we do.
I hope this will be for the public benefit not just to perpetuate their deeds
Seems like a good idea. This way, excesses can be put in check. Hopefully this would be if public benefit as well.
This is an excellent idea because having a branch in Nigeria would also create another means of employment opportunities for the people, which will help our standard of living to an extent
Nice move by the NITDA twitter having branch in Nigeria will help us to generate from them too as they will be required pay taxes and create employment for the citizens too
Information and communication technology systems have become a vital infrastructure in the Nigerian society and it must be safeguarded, regulated and protected against online harm. Having these popular social media have a branch in Nigeria will it easier to monitor and regulate information going around the social media
Although social media is really transforming our daily activities and helping in every way but some people have turn it into weapon using it to defraud people, disseminate fake news and rumour, promote violence and religious sentiments which even happened recently, hence it’s activities needs to be monitored and regulated NITDA is really trying on this one
Is good to have their branch in Nigeria
A good idea…. conditions are been set to protect the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and non-citizens living in the country, having NITDA twitter branch in Nigeria will help us to generate income for the country…. they will be required to pay taxes and create employment for the benefit of the citizens.
This would be a nice things and also a nice idea for the social media platforms have a office in Nigeria
It is truly a welcomed idea for the big techs to have physical offices in Nigeria. It is also a plus to the generated revenue for Nigerian government.
Large numbers of Nigerian make use of social media to pass across messages to individual or group of people and as such we also need to relate with the physical office.