NITDA Draft Code for Interactive Computer Service Platforms and … – JD Supra


The Nigerian government has launched an initiative to regulate social media platforms with a new Code of Practice, months after lifting the controversial 7-month Twitter ban. On June 13, 2022, the National Information Technology Development Agency (“NITDA”) published a draft regulatory document titled: Code of Practice (the “Code”) to regulate Interactive Computer Service Platforms1and Internet Intermediaries2 (“Platform Providers”). The main goal of the Code is to regulate and establish the best practices for Platform Providers and define the rules for interactions in conducting various activities in the Nigerian digital ecosystem. The Code also speaks to morality and information regulation as it aims to prevent users from promoting revenge porn, child sexual abuse, cyberbullying, and spreading misinformation 3.
The Code highlights specific responsibilities which Platform Providers are expected to bear in line with all information and content presented on their platform as well as their duty to abide by Nigerian laws. Some of these responsibilities have been highlighted below:
While the provisions of the Code are generally commendable, it may be argued that some of the provisions infringe on certain fundamental human rights, such as freedom of expression12 and the right to privacy13. Specifically, the brad definition of harmful content seems to give the Nigerian government unfettered control over the determination of what constitutes "harmful content". In addition, and as highlighted in Paragraph 2 above, the right to require the assistance of social media platforms, with investigations, albeit with a court order, is undoubtedly worrisome and poses a threat to the right of privacy of the users.
Nonetheless, given that the NITDA has recently informed the public that
it is still entertaining stakeholders’ contributions to the Code, which is in draft form, it is expected that some of these concerns will be addressed prior to the publication of the Code, in its final form.
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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.
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