Nigeria requires social media companies to obtain local license

Social media companies wishing to operate in Nigeria must register a local entity and obtain a license, the country’s Information Minister said on Wednesday, the government’s latest move since banning Twitter (TWTR.N) this week. last.

“We insist that in order for you to operate in Nigeria, you must first be a Nigerian company and be licensed by the Broadcasting Commission,” said Lai Mohammed, Nigerian Minister of Information, Broadcasting Companies. social media.

The new regulations will include conditions for continued operations, Mohammed said, without elaborating. The move comes amid what critics say was a broader crackdown on free speech in Africa’s most populous country that has drawn comparisons to decades of Nigeria’s military rule in the 20th century.

The Nigerian government announced last week that it had suspended Twitter activities, two days after the platform deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish secessionists. Nigerian telecommunications companies have since blocked access to Twitter.

Buhari is a former military leader.

Mohammed did not give a deadline for registration and licensing, but said some companies had received a notice, without naming the companies involved. He did not respond to calls and a message asking for details.

“Twitter has always made its platform available to those who threaten the existence of Nigerien businesses,” Mohammed said, naming a separatist leader and police anti-violence protesters.

The minister said Facebook (FB.O) and its affiliates Instagram and WhatsApp had not been suspended, but did not say whether they needed to register and obtain a license.

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