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FG urges Google to stop IPOB from using platform

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
05 August 2022   |   2:45 am
Federal Government (FG) has urged the tech giant, Google, to deny the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) access to the platform for its acts of violence and destabilisation.

[FILES] Lai Mohammed. Photo/facebook/FMICNigeria

Partner to check subversive YouTube channels

Federal Government (FG) has urged the tech giant, Google, to deny the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) access to the platform for its acts of violence and destabilisation.

The FG said it observed Google has been a platform of choice for IPOB, a proscribed group, and stressed the need for the firm to put measures in place to tackle the use of private and unlisted YouTube channels and live streams by proscribed groups and terrorist organisations.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who made the call when a team from Google visited him, yesterday, in Abuja, observed that channels and emails containing names of proscribed groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on Google platforms.

He noted Nigerians are among the most vibrant social media users in the world, with over 100 million Internet users in the country.

The minister noted that internet platforms such as Google, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and WhatsApp enable Nigerians to interact, share ideas, earn a living and participate in social and political affairs.

Mohammed, however, observed that those platforms are also used by unscrupulous persons or groups for subversive and nefarious activities.

He said the FG recently proposed a ‘Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/ Internet Intermediaries’ in an attempt to provide a framework for collaboratively protecting Nigerian users of Internet platforms.

Mohammed said: “This code couldn’t have come at a better time, as the country prepares for general elections next year. We are committed to working with platforms like yours as well as the civil society, lawyers, media practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to ensure responsible use of the Internet and to protect our people from the harmful effects of social media.”

He expressed delight that both the FG and Google share the same concern on responsible use of social media, adding that government and Google will collaborate to curb the excesses of subversive YouTube channels, which are used to spread hate and disinformation against the country.

“We want Google to look into how to tackle the use of private and unlisted YouTube channels and live streams by proscribed groups and terrorist organisations,” the minster added.

In his remarks, Google Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Charles Murito, said the platform has introduced a programme called ‘Trusted Flaggers’ for citizens trained to track and engage with online content in order to flag contents of serious concern.

“As I mentioned earlier, we share the same sentiments, we share the same goals and objectives and we do not want our platform to be used for ill purposes,” he said.