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We won't allow 'reckless use of social media' — FG warns

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The federal government says it has no plan to shut down the Internet or limit free speech, but warns that a “reckless use of social media” won’t be allowed.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the idea of regulating social media is a global affair, therefore Nigeria would do its part to avoid the country being thrown into turmoil.

Speaking in Lagos on Friday, he told journalists that the violence that accompanied last month’s protests against police brutality was heightened as a result of fake news and disinformation.

The minister however acknowledged that social media “is here to stay”.

Mohammed said: “This development has strengthened our resolve to work with stakeholders to stop the abuse of social media. It has also rekindled the debate on the need to regulate social media content, a debate that is not limited to Nigeria.

“Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg has called for more regulation of social media content. Other giant tech companies seem to agree. On our part, we will not sit down and allow a reckless use of social media to aggravate our fault lines and throw the country into turmoil.

“But in curbing the excesses of social media, rest assured, gentlemen, that we will neither shut down the internet nor stifle press freedom or free speech, as some have insinuated. We also acknowledge that social media is here to stay.”

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