Nigeria demands Facebook, Twitter, TikTok to open local offices and pay taxes
Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) yesterday issued a code of practice intended to guide the activities of social media companies in the country.
In a statement shared via Twitter, the agency noted that the code of practice is in line with section 6 of the NITDA Act 2007 which specifies the need for standardisation, coordination and development of regulatory frameworks that would guide the activities of internet companies in the country.
In line with this mandate, NITDA’s code of practice will, among other things, require big social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to set up local offices and appoint local representatives that would liaise with the government when need be.
Other necessary conditions, as contained in the code of practice, are:
- Social media companies must abide by local laws after setting up shop in the West African country.
- They must also abide by all applicable tax demands from the government.
- They would also be required to provide a comprehensive compliance mechanism, aimed at preventing the publication of prohibited content and all forms of unethical conduct on their platforms.
- Lastly, the code of conduct requires the social media companies to report suspected “harmful accounts”, bots, troll groups, etc.
PRESS RELEASE— NITDA Nigeria (@NITDANigeria) June 13, 2022
13th June 2022
National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Issues a Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries and Conditions for Operating in Nigeria
Business Insider Africa understands that the code of practice was prepared in conjunction with other agencies, including the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC). Input was also sought from Facebook and others.
The agency reiterated that the code of practice is intended to ensure that Nigeria fully harnesses the potentials of digital economy, whilst safeguarding the security and interests of the country and its citizens.
It’s important to note that this framework has been long-anticipated. Throughout much of 2021, Twitter was banned in the country, even as the government pressed home the need for better regulation of the foreign tech companies.
Although the ban was lifted earlier this year, the government had continued to press home its demand, including the need to curtail hate speech across platforms and the need for social media companies to abide by local laws and pay taxes. All these demands have culminated in this code of practice.