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EXPLAINER: What You Need To Know About New Code Of Practice Governing Facebook, TikTok, WhatsApp Others

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The Federal Government of Nigeria has established a new code of practice to govern social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, TikTok, Instagram and Google. 

The new directive according to the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is to secure all social media platforms in Nigeria against harmful content.

What Is The Code Of Practice?

The Code of Practice is an intervention to recalibrate the relationship of online platforms with Nigerians to maximise reciprocal benefits for Nigeria while promoting a sustainable digital economy.

The code of practice was founded 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 TikTok amongst others.

READ: Gombe Police Has Three Facebook Pages, Bauchi Has One. Yet, They Are Dormant  

The new Code of Practice established strategies to protect the security and welfare of Nigerians while interacting on these Platforms. It intends to charge accountability from Online Platforms regarding unlawful and harmful content on their platforms.

It also establishes a powerful framework for collective efforts to protect Nigerians against online harms, such as hate speech, cyberbullying, as well as disinformation and misinformation.

Why Was The New Code Of Practice Introduced?

The Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) said the new code of practice which is per the mandate of section 6 of the NITDA Act 2007, was introduced to protect the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and foreigners living in Nigeria.

According to NITDA, the new global reality is that the activities performed on these online platforms exercise massive influence over our society, social interaction, and economic choices. 

Therefore, the code of practice will tackle issues around legal registration of operations, taxation, and managing prohibited publications in compliance with Nigerian laws.

What Does The Code Of Practice Include?

The federal government has spelt out directives included in the code of practice to all social media companies as follows:

• Immediate attention must be given to addressing complaints by users or government agencies, especially on violations of platform rules and regulations. Companies responsible must acknowledge complaints within 24 hours. 

READ: For Criticising Bala Mohammed On Facebook, NUBASS President Arrested, Remanded In Prison

• Sensitive contents that involve nudity, hate speech, violence or that violate human rights must be censored or removed from platforms. 

• Perpetrators of sensitive contents must be identified and revealed by court order when the need arises to investigate cases and maintain social order. 

• However, if the perpetrators happen to be abroad, the first person to share the content within Nigeria would be held responsible.

Furthermore, the code of practice complies with international best practices as obtainable in democratic nations such as the United State of America, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United Nations.

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