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FG orders Facebook, Twitter, others to register with CAC, delete harmful accounts

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Nigeria’s federal government through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has issued new regulations for Facebook, Twitter and social media platforms available in Nigeria.

Among others, the agency instructed Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, among others, to register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and delete what it termed harmful accounts.

Hadiza Umar, NITDA spokesperson who announced the the new code in a statement on Monday, said it was designed to protect the “fundamental human rights of Nigerians and non-Nigerians living in the country as well as define guidelines for interacting on the digital ecosystem.”

The code requires Internet platforms to “register with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and appoint a designated country representative to interface with Nigerian authorities.”

The code also requires that they comply with all regulatory demands and comply with all applicable tax obligations on its operations under Nigerian law.

On content moderation, NITDA said Internet platforms must “provide a comprehensive compliance mechanism to avoid publication of prohibited contents and unethical behaviour on their platform.”

They must also “provide information to authorities on harmful accounts, suspected botnets, troll groups, and other coordinated disinformation networks and deleting any information that violates Nigerian law within an agreed time.”

NITDA said the new rules were “developed in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), as well as input from Interactive Computer Service Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google, and Tik Tok amongst others.

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

The draft Code of Practice notes that Internet platforms must promptly obey court orders directing it to provide “information under its domain or any assistance to any authorised government.”

It remains unclear how the new rules will be implemented.

Nigeria suspended Twitter in June 2021 for several months after the social media network deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Buhari administration has sought to pass more stringent laws regulating Internet platforms, especially social media networks

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