The Federal Government has explained why Over the Top (OTT) and social media platforms operating in the nation must register and obtain a license to operate.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Friday, speaking on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) programme “Good Morning Nigeria’’ said the new rule is in conformity with the global trend.

Lai Mohammed disclosed that if the social media platforms were registered and issued with licenses like in other countries their operations would be regulated within the terms of their registrations.

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He said it was unfortunate that most of the OTT and social media operating in Nigeria have no offices and made billions of dollars without paying any tax.

Justifying his position, the minister said, “Singapore regulates social media, Australia has done so too, even the EU that does not have particular laws on social media has made recommendations in a white paper.

“The EU says that social media platforms that publish content that are harmful to the security of a country or make such an impressionable move, such content should be removed,’’ he said.

Lai Mohammed disclosed that the UK on Wednesday planned a new law that would make social media companies be fined up to 10 percent of their turnover or 18 million pounds (about N10.8 billion) for failure to stamp out online abuses.

He revealed that Google was recently 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 stated that the Federal Cabinet of Pakistan on Wednesday also approved a new set of rules to regulate social media.

Twitter ban: Facebook, Instagram must register as businesses in Nigeria – Lai Mohammed
According to the minister, companies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even TikTok were to register and open offices in Pakistan.

Mohammed said in compliance with new online broadcasting rules of Turkey, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video had obtained licenses with the country’s broadcasting authority.

The minister said with all the development, the criticism by some foreign missions on the action taken by the Government against twitter was unfair.

“We must make a distinction between those countries that are trying to protect their economic and commercial interests from those who are genuinely talking about freedom of speech.

“Facebook, Google hang out, Whatsapp, Instagram are still operating in Nigeria,” Lai Mohammed added.

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