#EndSARS: FG Will Regulate Social Media, Not Shut It Down – Lai Mohammed
The minister during a press conference on Thursday also claimed social media was wrongly used to cause mayhem in the aftermath of the #EndSARSprotest.
He said the government would only work with stakeholders to regulate the social media activities in the country.
Many Nigerians have rejected the move by the government to regulate the social media, insisting that it will infringe on citizens’ rights to freedom of expression.
Federal Government has however maintained it will go ahead with the proposed social media regulation.
According to Mohammed during the conference, the regulation is necessary to checkmate the surge of fake news, which he said almost plunged the nation into disintegration during the recent #EndSARS protests.
He said social media was used to guide arsonists and looters to certain properties, stressing;
This development has reinforced the campaign against fake news and disinformation, which we launched in 2018.
As a matter of fact, as far back as 2017, when we dedicated that year’s National Council on Information to the issue of fake news and disinformation, we had been expressing concerns on the dangers posed by irresponsible use of the new media platform.
The minister expressed,
The concerns culminated in the launch of the national campaign which I referred to earlier.
The social media was used to guide arsonists and looters to certain properties, both public and private. Pictures of persons, including some celebrities, who were supposedly killed at the Lekki Toll Gate by soldiers, were circulated widely, only for those persons to refute such claims or for the discerning to disprove such posts.
As we have said many times, no responsible government will stand by and allow such abuse of social media to continue.
The fake news/disinformation purveyors have latched on to our concerns to allege that the Federal Government is planning to shut down social media. No, we have no plans to shut down the social media.
What we have always advocated, and what we will do, is to regulate the social media. Nigeria is not alone in this regard.