Tue, 04 Oct 2022

Nigeria Demands Google Close Channels Linked to Separatists

Voice of America
06 Aug 2022, 00:39 GMT+10

Abuja, Nigeria - Nigerian authorities have asked the search engine Google to shut down YouTube channels and livestreams linked to separatist and terrorist groups in the country.

Nigeria's information minister, Lai Mohammed, made the appeal Thursday in Abuja during a meeting with executives of Google.

He said the concerns are part of an effort by the government to protect internet users from harmful social media content, especially ahead of next year's polls.

Mohammed said the government is particularly concerned about activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra -- an outlawed group that has pushed for the secession of southeast Nigeria for years.

Mohammed said some of the channels operated by the group and their affiliates on YouTube use local languages during broadcasts, easily evading censorship.

In a statement after Thursday's meeting, Charles Murito, a regional director for government affairs and public policy at Google, said, 'We do not want our platform to be used for ill purposes.'

He also said the company has measures to address the Nigerian government's concerns, including a system for trained users to flag troublesome content.

For years, Nigeria authorities have been trying to regulate social media platforms over concerns that they are too often used to incite public unrest.

In June of last year, authorities banned Twitter, for deleting a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari about cracking down on regional secessionists.

The government restored conditional access to users seven months later. Nigeria has a large base of social media users on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube.

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