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Nigeria directs global tech firms, Facebook, Twitter, others to register with local authority

Nigeria in a move to regulate the activities of global tech firms and users of the internet, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has issued new regulations for Internet platforms available in Nigeria.

In a statement signed by NITDA spokesperson, Hadiza Umar, said the new code 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.”

It also requires that they comply with all regulatory demands and comply with all applicable tax obligations on their 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.”

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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 these 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 them to provide “information under its domain or any assistance to any authorised government.”

It is not yet clear 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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