NITDA Code of Practice for Online Platforms and National Security

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In a bid to ensure that sanity is maintained in Nigeria’s internet circuit, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) recently unveiled a code of practice for online platforms.

The move aims to regulate the mode of operation of online platforms to thwart the eruption of any kind of crisis in the country’s ICT sector.

The Code of Practice has been developed in collaboration with relevant industry stakeholders including the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as well as input from IT Service Platforms interactive (also known as Tech Giants) such as Twitter. , Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google and Tik Tok among others.

With the increasing technological advancements and the Internet, the media has transformed the world into a village where news and information can be transmitted to a large heterogeneous society in the shortest possible time.

The availability of this exploit is the emergence of online social media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, etc.). The aforementioned social media platforms have made the unfettered dissemination of information possible.

While reaping the benefits and dividends brought by these tech giant platforms, stakeholders and regulators should not overlook the negative effects associated with their unrestricted activities, especially in a multicultural society like Nigeria, segmented along religious, ethnic and regional lines.

Over the years, online social media platforms in Nigeria have been used as an ideal medium to spread dangerous information that could compromise national security, which threatened the country’s existence as a business entity.

Promoting this ugly trend among the citizens is the lack of proper mechanism or legal framework by the government or any other institution to oversee and regulate the conduct and affairs of these international tech giants.

  • Mukhtar Ya’u Madobi, Kano

However, with NITDA’s new Code of Practice, it’s fair to say that the situation is about to change for a better narrative.

It is disturbing to learn that our public space is continually polluted on a daily basis by unhealthy content capable of heating up the body politic. These include, but are not limited to, hate speech, fake news, misinformation and disinformation and a host of others.

Agitators and other ethno-religious fanatics have used social media for their vicious campaigns capable of inciting genocidal violence in Nigeria. It is on this note that last year the federal government had no choice but to ban the operations of the microblogging site, i.e. Twitter, because of their prominent role in the transmission of “dangerous material” likely to harm the public peace and security of Nigeria.

Therefore, it is not surprising why there has recently been an unacceptable upsurge in mob justice incidents in our societies. During this heinous act, a defendant will be lynched and also set on fire while the footage will go viral on social media for other senseless and senseless mobs in another location to watch and later serve as a model for them to lead an episode similar.

Hence, this code of practice instituted by NITDA has laid down procedures to safeguard the safety and well-being of Nigerians while interacting on these platforms. It aims to hold online platforms accountable for illegal and harmful content on their platforms. Furthermore, it establishes a strong framework for collaborative efforts to protect Nigerians from harm online, such as hate speech, cyber-harassment, as well as disinformation and/or misinformation.

This intervention by NITDA comes at a good time, especially in the run-up to the 2023 general election where social media will be widely used for politicians’ election campaigns. Because it will go a long way in limiting the appearance of content capable of heating up politics.

NITDA has undoubtedly done a tremendous job in coming up with this set of standard procedures, especially after proper consultation with relevant online platforms and other industry stakeholders and agencies.

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