August 10, 2022
Google asks YouTube to block banned groups, organizations in Nigeria

Nigeria will ask Google to stop the use of YouTube channels and livestreams by banned groups and terrorist organizations in the country, Information Minister Lai Mohamed said on Thursday.

Nigeria is exploring ways to regulate the use of social media in Africa’s most populous country. The country is home to millions of internet users and platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Tiktok are popular.

“YouTube “channels and emails containing the names of banned groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on the Google platform,” Mohamed told Google officials in the country’s capital Abuja.

Charles Murito, Google’s sub-Saharan African director for government affairs and public policy, said in a statement that the company already has measures in place to address the concerns of the Nigerian government.

He said those measures include a system for trained users to flag troublesome content. “We share similar goals and objectives,” Murito said. “We do not want our platform to be used for wrong purposes.”

The minister said the government was particularly concerned with online activities by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The government has labeled the IPOB, a group campaigning to isolate the south-eastern region of Nigeria, a “terrorist organisation”.

YouTube’s concerns are part of an effort by the government, the minister said, to protect Nigerian internet users from the harmful effects of social media, especially ahead of next year’s presidential election.

Nigeria suspended Twitter and blocked access to users in June 2021 after the social media giant removed a post by President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish regional separatists.

The government lifted the ban on Twitter after six months.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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