Nigeria’s government outlined draft regulations requiring technology companies to register their businesses and open offices in the country, as well as appoint contact persons with the state in a bid to crackdown on online abuse and misinformation.
In a statement, the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) issued a code of practice for computer service platforms and internet intermediaries, developed in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and input from Twitter, Meta Platforms, Google and TikTok among others.
NITDA explained online platforms “wield enormous influence over our society” and the code was required to promote a sustainable digital economy, along with safeguarding the security of Nigerian citizens when interacting on such services.
Furthermore, the code aims to make the platforms accountable for harmful content and protect against hate speech, cyberbullying, disinformation and misinformation.
To operate in the country, Nigeria’s authorities also now require online companies like Meta Platforms and Google to establish a legal entity which is registered with the government; appoint a designated country representative to interface with Nigerian authorities; abide by all regulatory demands; comply with all applicable tax obligations; provide a comprehensive compliance mechanism to avoid publication of prohibited content; provide information to authorities on harmful accounts; and delete any information violating Nigerian law.
Nigeria notably took a tough stance on Twitter in the past, banning the use of the platform for seven months after it removed a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.
To ease the row, Twitter agreed to open a local office, commit to pay taxes and appoint a country head.