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Nigeria reins in social media platforms

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Nigeria , 14 Jun 2022

Nigeria has released a Draft Code of Practice that requires social media platforms to establish local offices and inform authorities about popular content and related demand.

The Draft Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Intermediaries, developed by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), is directed at social media heavyweights including Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter.

According to the Draft Policy, the NITDA stated “all platforms whose users are more than one hundred thousand” have to be “incorporated in Nigeria, have a physical contact address in Nigeria” and “appoint a Liaison Officer who shall serve as a communication channel between the government” and the platform.

The policy, available on the NITDA’s website, also makes it mandatory for social media platforms to furnish “authorised government agency with information on reason behind popular online content demand and the factor or figure” behind the influence.

Social media companies must also justify why users of the networks “get specific information” on their timelines.

Going forward, the platforms must react quickly “to remove, disable, or block access to non-consensual content that exposes a person's private areas, full or partial nudity, sexual act, deepfake, or revenge porn, where such content is targeted to harass, disrepute, or intimidate” an individual.

Social media companies with users in Nigeria now also have to file an annual compliance report with NITDA indicating the “number of registered users on its platform in Nigeria, the number of active registered users on its platform in Nigeria” and the number of closed and deactivated accounts.

It is also a requirement that the companies lay out in their annual report the number of removed content with and without notice or by court order, the number of content reposted with or without notice and the number of content removed and re-uploaded.

Social media platforms have as yet not reacted or commented on the policy. However, in a statement, NITDA said the new policy framework for social media platforms was developed “in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission and National Broadcasting Commission as well as input from Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google and Tick Tok” among others.

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