The Federal Government of Nigeria praised social media giant Meta on Wednesday for its initiative to battle misinformation and hate speech on its platforms, which include Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed communicated this at the 12th Edition of the ‘PMB Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023’ in Abuja.
As Nigeria’s national elections in 2023 draw near, he advised other social media companies like Twitter, TikTok, and Telegram to follow Meta’s lead and organize teams to combat false information.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, during one of our earlier sessions here, I spoke about the dangers posed to the 2023 elections by fake news and disinformation. I said the increasing resort to fake news and disinformation by some political actors and a section of the media constitutes a clear and present danger to the success of the elections, just like violence, insecurity, vote buying, attack on INEC facilities, etc,” the minister said.
“In this regard, I want to acknowledge the announcement by Meta, the owners of Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, that it will take clearly-outlined steps to protect the integrity of the forthcoming elections.
“Specifically, Meta detailed the actions it plans to take to combat disinformation and to make political advertising more transparent. The company committed to these actions before, during and after the elections.
“This is commendable and it is in line with what we have always said, that the platform owners have a big role to play in checking the spread of fake news, disinformation and hate speech via their platforms.
“Meta has demonstrated a great sense of responsibility and we hope the company will live up to its promise.
“We also urge other platform owners like Google (owners of YouTube and others), ByteDance (owners of TikTok), Twitter and the Telegram Group Inc. (owners of Telegram messenger) to emulate Meta by taking positive steps to prevent the spread of fake news, disinformation and hate speech via their platforms ahead, during and after the 2023 elections.”
Recall that on June 4, 2021, the federal government suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria, saying the “persistent use” of the micro-blogging platform was “capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”. However, on January 13, 2022, the government lifted the suspension.