Nigeria asks Facebook, other platforms to curtail separatists' posts

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The Nigerian government has asked Facebook and other social media platforms to prevent the pro-Biafra separatist group (IPOB) on their platforms.

The government said members of the group use these platforms to incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in the country but the social media platforms have not done much to prevent these occurrences.

At a meeting with a team from Facebook in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation by the government, Facebook has no justification for yielding its platform to the organisation.

“For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice…and their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements, and hate speech. They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in the thousands."Mohammed said

He argued that the actions of the members of the proscribed group on social media have real-life implications.

Nigeria is facing secessionist agitation, which has given rise to regional calls for power-sharing between southern and northern Nigeria.

He said the government does not intend to prevent Nigerians from using social media but is advocating responsible use.

Nigeria lifted a six-months ban on Twitter in January after the social media company removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional secessionists. 

Telecom companies subsequently blocked access to users in Nigeria.

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