Nigerian Government through her Ministery of Information and Culture has tasked tech giant Google to help in her battle against disinformation, the spread of fake news and hate, from users on its platforms. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the request when he hosted a team from Google in his office in Abuja on Thursday, stated that the platform is becoming popular among those who are waging information warfare against the country and has implored the tech giant to deny them, especially the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) the use of its platform for its acts of violence and destabilization.
According to the minister, “We want Google to look into how to tackle the use of private and unlisted YouTube channels and YouTube live streams by proscribed groups and terrorist organizations. Channels and emails containing names of proscribed groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on Google platforms.”
He added the recently proposed “Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/ Internet Intermediaries” by the Nigerian government is a framework for protecting Nigerian users of Internet platforms.
“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 added.
Before concluding, Alhaji Lai Mohammed noted that Nigerians are among the most vibrant social media users in the world, with over 100 million Internet users in the country, and that internet platforms such as Google, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and WhatsApp enable Nigerians to interact, share ideas, earn a living and participate in social and political affairs.
In other to assist the country with her current battle on information warfare, Google Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Mr Charles Murito, stated the platform has introduced a programme called “Trusted Flaggers” for citizens trained to track and engage with online contents in order to flag contents of serious concern.
According to Mr Charles, “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.”