Twitter seeks dialogue, says Minister

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The Federal Government on Tuesday confirmed that Twitter has formally written to seek dialogue on issues leading to the indefinite suspension of its operations in the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, confirmed this when he featured on “Politics Nationwide,’’ a Radio Nigeria call-in programme monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

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“I can confirm that Twitter has written the Federal Government that they are ready to talk.

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“As we have always maintained, the door is not locked and we are open-minded but Twitter must work toward it,” he said.

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The minister reiterated the government’s position that it would not tolerate any platform that would be used to destabilise the country.

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Mohammed said among other conditions for Twitter to resume operation in Nigeria, there must be an agreement as to what contents it could post.

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He said Twitter and other platforms must also register as a Nigerian company, obtain license from the National Broadcasting Commission(NBC) and be guided by the rules of the licensing as well as pay taxes.

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The minister said regulation of social media platforms is becoming a global practice as most countries were just waking up to the fact that the platforms were becoming more powerful than even government and needed to be regulated.

“Singapore, Algeria, Pakistan, Turkey regulate the social media, Australia has done so. Even EU that does not have particular laws on social media has made recommendations in a white paper,” he said.

The minister said that the UK initiated a new law which would make social media companies to be fined up to 18 million pounds (about N10.8 billion) if they failed to stamp out online abuses.

He said Google was fined 220 million Euros (about N110 billion) on June 7 by French Competition Regulator for abusing its dominance in the online advertising market in France.

Similarly, the minister said the Federal Cabinet of Pakistan had approved a new set of rules to regulate social media.

In the rules, according to the minister, companies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even TikTok were to register and open offices in Pakistan.

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