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Nigeria plots new internet regulation

A new draft bill.
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Nigeria has announced a draft legislation to regulate social media companies, including Meta Platforms (Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram), TikTok, Twitter, and Google.

The draft legislation was prepared and released by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and comes six months after Nigeria lifted the 6-month long Twitter ban.
The Twitter ban was lifted on three conditions; Twitter should have legal representation in the country, pay local taxes, and cooperate with takedown requests from the government. The draft legislation by NITDA has similar requirements and more.

The legislation, titled: “Code of practice for interactive computer service platform/internet intermediaries,” is supposed to protect the “fundamental human rights of Nigerian and non-Nigerians living in the country,” and provide “guidelines for interacting on the digital ecosystem.”

Provide information to authorities on harmful accounts, suspected botnets, troll groups, and other coordinated disinformation networks and delete any information that violates Nigerian law within an agreed time.

In a press statement, NITDA’s head of corporate affairs Hadiza Umar said: “The new global reality is that the activities conducted on these online platforms wield enormous influence over our society, social interaction and economic choices. Hence, the Code of Practice is an intervention to recalibrate the relationship of online platforms with Nigerians in order to maximize mutual benefits for our nation.”

The agency said it came up with the draft legislation at the request of President Muhammadu Buhari. The agency also claims it collaborated with broadcasting and communications watchdogs and was open to input from the companies that would be affected by the legislation.

The agency is welcoming comments and reviews of the draft from the public.

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