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FG To Lift Suspension On Twitter Once It Registers With NBC and CAC

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The Nigerian government will lift the suspension of Twitter, the microblogging platform once the digital social media app registers with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

According to an affidavit deposed to by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation in response to a suit filed by a human rights lawyer, the government said Twitter would not have been suspended if it complied with Nigeria’s laws.

The affidavit deposed by Ilop Lawrence on behalf of the Federal Government and the AGF, it was stated that the suspension of Twitter was not an abuse of human rights because Nigerians were still using Twitter despite the suspension.

The government told the court that the Twitter suspension would be lifted once the platform registers with the NBC and the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The government had on June 4, 2021, suspended Twitter barely two days after the social media platform censored a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Subsequently, the AGF, Abubakar Malami threatened to prosecute Nigerians still using the platform while NBC ordered all radio and television stations to stop using Twitter or picking content from the platform.

Human Rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, subsequently sued the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Malami, and the Federal Government for suspending the social media platform.

In the fundamental human rights suit marked FHC/L/CS/542/2021, Effiong is seeking nine reliefs, including an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further suspending, deactivating, or banning the operation and accessibility of Twitter or any other social media service in Nigeria because the act was in violation of his rights.

Effiong asked the court to declare as illegal the threat of criminal prosecution by Malami and Lai Mohammed against Nigerians who ‘violate’ the suspension or ban of Twitter, despite the absence of any written law.

But in its response to the originating motion, the government said Nigerians are still using the microblogging platform despite the suspension placed on the app.

“The applicant (Effiong) and the class he seeks to represent can still operate those Twitter accounts from anywhere in the world and even from Nigeria.

“Nigerians are still tweeting, even at this moment as the ban on Twitter is not aimed at intimidating Nigerians or an infringement on the rights of Nigerians to express their opinion.

“The respondents (Federal Government and AGF) have never stopped the applicant (Effiong) and the class of persons he seeks to represent from voicing their opinions to access government information and offer criticism where necessary,” the government said in the affidavit.

The government told the court that Nigerians are still free to use other platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Tiktok and others.

The Federal Government also denied knowledge of Twitter censoring Buhari’s tweet on the Biafra civil which offended many Nigerians.

It said Twitter had made its platform accessible to elements like Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra; and had supported the #EndSARS protests of October 2020 which was later hijacked by hoodlums.

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Facebook, Big Cabal Media, and Comic Republic Launch #NoFalseNewsZone Campaign to Minimise the Spread of False News in Nigeria

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Facebook,  Big Cabal Media, and Comic Republic, has announced the launch of #NoFalseNewsZone, an educational campaign focused on helping people identify false news and educate them on the actions to take to help minimise its spread in Nigeria.

“At Facebook, we are committed to the wellbeing of the individuals and communities that use our platforms, and are invested in, and take responsibility in minimising the spread of false news,” Oluwasola Obagbemi, Facebook’s Corporate Communications Manager for Anglophone West Africa said, while commenting on the launch of the campaign. “We are super excited to be working with Big Cabal Media and Comic Republic to launch #NoFalseNewsZone in Nigeria,” Obagbemi added.

As part of the campaign, Big Cabal Media and Comic Republic have also joined the conversation to sensitize Nigerians on how to identify and report false news online beyond a conceptual level.

Speaking on the collaboration, Big Cabal Media CEO, Tomiwa Aladekomo said, “The world is increasingly relying on sourcing for information from digital news outlets and social media platforms. The consequences of false news are glaring and especially painful to those who fall victim. Big Cabal Media is passionate about connecting people to accurate news sources and is excited to work with Facebook on its #NoFalseNewsZone campaign.”

Comic Republic CEO, Jide Martin also said, “As more people spend time on their screens, consuming news and information on social media, service providers must become more socially responsible in order to combat misinformation on their platforms as effectively as possible. I am pleased to be working with Facebook, a company that has taken the bold step to use the longest and most relevant art form to tell the story of misinformation to drive the desired attitudinal change. Comic Republic has since used comics to shine the light on issues like social injustice, online security, and domestic violence. We are pleased to be collaborating on art for a good cause and we can’t wait to show you what we are working on.”

Facebook has also commenced the 2021 edition of its ‘safe online forum’ in Nigeria, bringing teachers, parents, and other important education stakeholders together to discuss ways of promoting and ensuring online safety and digital literacy for young people. Feedback received from the forum will be used to design future safety-related programs.

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Amicable Solution In Sight For Twitter Suspension – FG

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Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that issues surrounding the suspension of the operations of the micro-blogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria will be resolved soon.

The Federal Government had in June, suspended indefinitely, the operations of Twitter in Nigeria, citing persistent use of the platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.

Mohammed while fielding questions from State House correspondents on Wednesday after the virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said, “I want to say that the end for an amicable solution is very much in sight; we quite appreciate the anxiety of Nigerians who have been worried that, two months after the suspension, we have not been able to finalise talks.

“But I just want to assure you that we have made tremendous progress and when I say tremendous, I mean tremendous.

“We have engaged Twitter both in writing; we have engaged Twitter; we set up a technical committee to engage Twitter; they set up their own committee too.

“They have met virtually and they have exchanged correspondence about three times; and really, apart from dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘ts’ we are actually almost there, almost there.’’

He said that engagements with Twitter had been positive and devoid of any acrimony.

According to him, Twitter admitted that it had never received any kind of informed or detailed or professional communication from any country as they received in Nigeria.

The minister said that Twitter promised that it was going to look into the issues while Nigeria made very clear what it wanted from Twitter.

“Even though our report is not ready; even though we are expecting more clarifications around some conversations with Twitter; I think I can share with you that some of our conditions for Twitter operations to resume in Nigeria.

“And I’m glad that both the Minister of Works, who is a member of the Ministerial Team and Tolu, who is a member of the technical team are here.

“If I am wrong they will correct me; I know that one of clarification that we set is that Twitter must first, in line with the Companies and Allied Matters Act, establish legal presence in Nigeria, with the registration of Nigerian office with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

“We think this is only fair that if you want to do business in Nigeria, you must first register as a Nigerian company, and of course if you want to register, you must have an address. That is one of the conditions we gave Twitter; we also asked that Twitter shall be mandated to employ a designated country representative.

“As of today, we are not aware of any Twitter representative in Nigeria; we say that representative shall be a staff of Twitter, but must be one that has access to the global management of Twitter so that he can serve as a liaison between Nigeria and Twitter.’’

The minister said that the country representative should also have a physical office address in Nigeria with its head office in Abuja and could also have, offices outside the capital if he wanted.

He said that Twitter, in addition to registering in Nigeria, must also register with relevant regulatory authorities like National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

“Fourthly, we asked that Twitter would be mandated to retain a designated local agent to manage its engagement with the government on its operations in Nigeria.

“We also asked that Twitter should commit itself to work with the FIRS on its tax liability because we believe that if you make money in Nigeria, the law says that you must pay taxes according to Nigerian laws.

“Of course, we also asked that they should immediately also start paying VAT and other tax liabilities of any company resident in Nigeria.

“We propose to Twitter that we should agree on a Charter on Online Conduct for content management; this charter will guide both of us. We will agree on what content will be acceptable and which content will not be acceptable.’’

Mohammed said that the Ministerial Team was concerned about contents that would be liable to jeopardise Nigeria’s security, unity and sovereignty.

He said that the team also asked for an agreement on what amounted to prohibited publication and when such was cited and brought to the attention of Twitter, it would delete or remove such publication.

“We also proposed an ombudsman between both Twitter and Nigeria, and it is this ombudsman to whom we can report harmful accounts or suspected troll and then he will act accordingly.

“Finally, we asked that Twitter should immediately establish a local compliance and grievance redress mechanism to be domiciled in Nigeria and to be staffed by persons who understand local content and our culture,’’ he said.

According to him, Twitter has responded, but there are still areas that both parties have yet to agree on.

He said that he was hopeful that Twitter would comply with all the demands, adding that the platform was considering having an office in Nigeria by 2022.

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Google to Introduce Strike-Based System to Clamp Down on Advertisers Violating Google Ads Policies

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The world’s leading search engine Google on announced it will introduce a new strike-based system to clamp down on advertisers who repeatedly violate the company’s ads policies.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the tech giant said the new strike based system would be introduced in September 2021, to be precise it said implementation of the new system will commence on September 21, 2021, “with a gradual ramp up over a period of 3 months, for the following policies: Enabling dishonest behavior, Unapproved substances, Guns, gun parts and related products, Explosives, Other Weapons, and Tobacco.”

“The policy coverage of the strike-based system will be expanded to add additional policies in phases over time and advertisers will be notified each time new policies are brought within scope of the strike-based system.

“Please note that this update does not impact the account suspension procedures for egregious Google Ads policy violations.

What’s changing:

To help ensure a safe and positive experience for users, Google requires advertisers to comply with Google Ads policies. As a part of the Google Ads enforcement system, Google will begin issuing strikes to advertisers, which will be accompanied by email notifications and in-account notifications to encourage compliance and deter repeat violations of our policies.

An advertiser’s first policy violation will only result in a warning. But advertisers will earn their first strike if we detect continued violation of our policies. Advertisers will be able to receive a maximum of three strikes, and the penalties applied with each strike will progressively increase. Temporary account holds will be applied for the first and second strikes (for 3 and 7 days respectively), while the third strike will result in an account suspension.

An advertiser placed on a temporary account hold will be required to remedy the violations in question and to submit an acknowledgement form to resume serving ads. Following this acknowledgement, their account will be released from the temporary account hold state either 3 days after the first strike was issued, or after 7 days for a second strike. Advertisers can also appeal a strike decision if they believe it was issued in error. Ads will resume serving immediately after successfully appealing the strike. Accounts will remain on temporary hold if no action is taken by the advertiser to either acknowledge or appeal a strike. Strikes will remain on the Google Ads account for 90 days unless they’re successfully appealed.

Accounts suspended following a third strike will not be able to run any ads or create new content unless the suspension is successfully appealed. Learn more about suspended accounts.

 

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