Nigerian agency issues code of practice that requires Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and others 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 explained 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 such as 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 would be required to 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 be required to provide periodic and comprehensive reports on compliance mechanisms, with the aim of 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., to the government.
Business Insider Africa understands that the code of practice was prepared in collaboration with other agencies, including the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC). Inputs were also sought from Facebook, Twitter and others.
The agency reiterated that the code of practice is intended to ensure that Nigeria fully harnesses the potentials of the 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 West African country, even as the government pressed home the need for better regulation of foreign tech companies.
Although the ban has since been lifted, the government has continued to press home its demands, including the need to curtail hate speech across social media platforms. Most importantly, the government stressed the need for social media companies to abide by local laws and pay taxes. All these demands have culminated in this code of practice.