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Lai Mohammed: Agreements with Twitter ‘not to censor microblogging site, other social media platforms’

The federal government says the deals it reached with Twitter to resume operations in the country were not intended to censor the microblogging site and other social media platforms in general.

Information and Culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who said so on Saturday, added that the agreement, which will be extended to other social media platforms operating in the country, would ensure that only content healthy are published by the platforms.

The minister was speaking on “Radio Link”, a telephone program of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.

He reiterated the government’s determination to regulate social media in a way that does not stifle freedom of speech and expression, or strangle the media.

“We are going to regulate social media not because we want to stifle the media or because we want to violate the right to expression.

“We want to make sure that only healthy content is available on social networks.

“Recently, we were all shocked when an 18-year-old boy, accused of killing his 21-year-old girlfriend for money rituals, confessed to supporting the evil act on social media.

“The teenager, in conjunction with his friends, cut off the victim’s head and was burning it in a pot when they were apprehended.

“The government has a responsibility to ensure that social media platforms are responsible and that the content they display does not harm young people, as well as the unity of the country,” he said.

On other deals with Twitter, which the minister said would be applicable to other online platforms, the microblogging site had agreed to open its office in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2022.

He said Twitter had agreed to appoint a designated national representative within a month of lifting its suspension, while its global policy team would also be available to engage directly with the government.

The Minister said that Twitter had agreed to meet all regulatory requirements, including the Companies and Related Matters Act, the Nigerian Communications Commission Acts and Rules and the National Broadcasting Commission Code.

“Twitter also agreed to comply with all taxes due as they were operating under Nigerian laws and they agreed to do so within a week of restoring their operations.

“Twitter has agreed to work immediately with the federal government on the code of conduct in accordance with global best practices.

Twitter has agreed to immediately enroll Nigerians in its Law Enforcement Portals and Partner Support Portal”.

“The law enforcement portal will provide dedicated channels for Nigerian law enforcement agencies to escalate reports of content that violates the code of conduct or national laws.

“Similarly, the Partner Support Portal provides a direct channel for the government to engage Twitter staff to handle prohibited content,” he said.

He reiterated that relevant laws and the broadcasting code would be amended to ensure that the agreement reached with Twitter would be applicable to other social media platforms.