FG to Google: Tackle the use of Private and Unlisted YouTube Channels by Terrorists

The minister of information, Lai Mohammed, has requested that YouTube terrorists be prohibited.

He made the request when the Google team came to see him in Abuja on Thursday.

“We want Google to look into how to tackle the use of private and unlisted YouTube channels and YouTube livestreams by proscribed groups and terrorist organisations,” the Minister said, according to a statement signed by his spokesperson Segun Adeyemi.

“Channels and emails containing names of proscribed groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on Google platforms,” he said.

Mohammed reminded Google that IPOB is a terrorist group that has been declared illegal and begged with them to prevent IPOB from using their platform for their violent acts and disruptive activities.

He asserted that Nigerians are among the most active social media users in the world and that platforms like Google, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and WhatsApp enable Nigerians to interact socially, share ideas, earn a living, and participate in social and political issues. Nigeria has over 100 million Internet users.

However, the Minister pointed out that dubious people or groups use these platforms for nefarious and subversive activities.

To establish a framework for cooperatively protecting Nigerian consumers of Internet platforms, Mohammed said that the Federal Government of Nigeria has proposed a “Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries.”

“This code couldn’t have come at a better time as the country prepares for general elections next year. We are committed to working with platforms like yours as well as the civil society, lawyers, media practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to ensure responsible use of the Internet and to protect our people from the harmful effects of social media,” he said.

Charles Murito, the regional director for Google in Sub-Saharan Africa, mentioned the platform’s “Trusted Flaggers” initiative, which trains users to monitor and interact with online content to flag it as a severe concern.

“As I mentioned earlier, we share the same sentiments, we share the same goals and objectives, and we do not want our platform to be used for ill purposes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Google Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager, Mr Adewolu Adene, said “Equiano”, a subsea cable which recently berthed in Nigeria from Portugal, is aimed at enhancing connectivity and access to the internet as well as driving down the cost of data, to create jobs and facilitate the transfer of knowledge.

He declared that 30 media outlets, including the fact-checking website Dubawa, would receive a $3.2 million grant under the Google News Initiative Challenge in appreciation for their creative efforts in the information dissemination field.

The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will work with Google to digitise the recently repatriated artefacts so that they can be preserved and sold to a global audience through Google Arts and Culture, Mr Adene also promised.

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