Through its Information Minister, Mr Lai Mohammed, the Nigerian government has asked Google to block the use of YouTube channels and livestreams by banned groups and terrorist organisations in the country.
The government of Nigeria has been exploring ways to regulate social media usage in the country, having millions of internet users on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Tiktok and Twitter.
Mohammed said he told Google executives in Abuja that YouTube “channels and emails containing names of banned groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on Google platforms.”
In a statement, Charles Murito, Google’s sub-Saharan African director for government affairs and public policy, said the firm already has measures to address the government’s concerns.
He noted that those measures include a system for trained users to flag troublesome content. “We share the same goals and objectives; we do not want our platform to be used for ill purposes,” Murito said.
Mohammed said the government was mainly concerned with online activities by the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob). Adding that, the government has labelled Ipob, a group campaigning for the secession of a southeastern region of Nigeria, a “terrorist organisation.”
The Minister added that YouTube concerns are part of an effort by the government to protect its citizen’s internet users from the harmful effects of social media, more so now ahead of a presidential election next year.
In June 2021, Nigeria suspended Twitter and blocked access to users after the social media giant removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari, threatening to punish regional secessionists.