Nigeria partners with Google To Checkmate Internet Activities of Terrorists
By Solomon Chung, Abuja
The Nigerian Government and Tech giants, Google are collaborating to curb the excesses of subversive YouTube channels which are used to spread hate and disinformation against the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated this when a team from Google visited him in Abuja on Thursday.
He expressed delight that both the Nigerian Government and Google shared the same concern on the responsible use of Social Media.
“We want Google to look into how to tackle the use of private and unlisted YouTube channels and YouTube live streams by proscribed groups and terrorist organizations. Channels and emails containing names of proscribed groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on Google platforms,” the Minister said.
According to Alhaji Mohammed, Google is a platform of choice for IPOB, a proscribed terrorist group, and implored the tech giant to deny IPOB the use of its platform for acts of violence and destabilisation.
He said; “Nigerians are among the most vibrant social media users in the
world, with over 100 million Internet users in the country, and 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.”
The Minister however observed that those platforms were also used by unscrupulous persons or groups for subversive and nefarious activities.
Alhaji Mohammed said the Nigerian Government 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.
He 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 a responsible
use of the Internet and to protect our people from the harmful effects
of social media.”
Google Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Mr. Charles Murito, said the platform has introduced a programme called “Trusted Flaggers” for citizens trained to track and engage with online content, to flag contents of serious concern.
Murito said; “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.”
Google’s Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager, Mr. Adewolu Adene, said “Equiano”, a subsea cable that recently
berthed in Nigeria from Portugal, is aimed at enhancing connectivity and access to the internet as well as driving down the cost of data, creating jobs, and facilitating the transfer of knowledge.
He said “through the Google News Initiative Challenge, 30 media platforms, with 5 from Nigeria, including the Dubawa fact-checking the platform would be awarded a $3.2 million grant in recognition of its innovative work in information dissemination.”
Mr. Adene also pledged the readiness of Google to work with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to digitise the recently-repatriated artifacts to preserve and market them to a global audience through Google Arts and Culture.