The Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries (Online Platforms) issued by the Federal Government will address the issues of cyberbullying and hate speech.
Cyberbullying is the use of the Internet to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature, especially on social media.
While hate speech is abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation.
The Nigerian government had come up with the Code of Practice in collaboration with relevant Regulatory Agencies and Stakeholders.
Other relevant stakeholders with peculiar knowledge in this area were consulted, such as Civil Society Organizations and expert groups. The results of these consultations were duly incorporated into the Draft Code of Practice.
The new codes demand accountability from Online Platforms regarding unlawful and harmful content on their Platforms, while establishing a robust framework for collaborative efforts to protect Nigerians against online harms, such as hate speech, cyberbullying, as well as disinformation, and/or misinformation.
Also, the guidelines mirror how to interact on digital ecosystems like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google, TikTok, and other social media platforms in the country.
According to the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the new rules are aimed at protecting the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and non-Nigerians living in the country.
The Code of Practice is in line with international best practices as obtainable in democratic nations such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United Nations.
NITDA said it is an intervention to recalibrate the relationship of online platforms with Nigerians in order to maximize mutual benefits for our nation while promoting a sustainable digital economy.
“Additionally, the Code of Practice sets out procedures to safeguard the security and welfare of Nigerians while interacting on these platforms. It aims to demand accountability from online platforms regarding unlawful and harmful content on their platforms.