Social media have been battered in recent years by growing concerns about disinformation, privacy breaches, and the spread of false, harmful and hate speeches on various platforms like, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.
Worried about this ugly trend on the cyber space, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the Federal Government is going to sanitize the social media and the regulation will, however be in line with global best practices as obtainable in the United Kingdom, Singapore and other jurisdictions.
Adding that the government has no plans to gag the press or stifle the media as being erroneously insinuated by the fifth columnists.
This gesture is not only commendable but is long overdue judging from the good it will do to lots of public and private citizens who have been victims or vulnerable to social media abuse and shenanigans. The uncelebrated heroes of the past whose history are being distorted by those who see social media as a weapon to murder history will definitely be glad to hear prompt sanitisation in this regard. Impressively, the President Muhammadu Buhari led government with this initiative has clearly shown capacity and concern to ensure that the cyber space is sanitized to engender discipline, decency and stem the tide of alternative truths and journalism of blackmail, among others.
Nigeria cannot remain unperturbed when her cyber space is under serious threat by many unqualified and criminally inclined minds that are currently having a field day. This proactive step to shut out disruptive and corrosive forces hiding in the world of social media is absolutely necessary in order to safeguard democratic and socio-economic progress made by the country and to permanently kill the sophist in our society.
Technology of this nature is expected to be used for knowledge and understanding and this government has done well in pursuing and sustaining certain standards and policies to guard against abuse of social media, and de-risking the IT world so to say.
Along with other countries of the world, Nigeria must put in her best to manage those tendencies that instead, look to abuse new technologies to provoke passions and stir tensions.
It is no doubt applaudable to see a responsible and visionary government putting every right and appropriate mechanism in place to change the orientation of the citizenry that the social media can no longer be used as a battleground for political candidates as they articulate their visions to Nigerians online in a most vicious, despicable, destructive and reprehensible manners..
Such forum should also not be used to create discord between people of different ethnic, political backgrounds or religious beliefs.
Of course, the loudest arguments for and against something often have one thing in common. They are often made by people with no desire to compromise or understand the other side. But there seems to be an opportunity for a compromise here.
Nigerians need to show support for the government especially when the government comes up with laudable initiatives such as the spirit of border closures that help in adding values to the lives of the citizenry, we shouldn’t politicize everything in our national life, Nigeria must always come first and above any other interests no matter what.
Clearly, this new regulation if implemented will beam it searchlight on social media influencers, as well as electronic news sites, publishers, etc, but of course those who have been running their affairs and businesses within the confines of the law and in line with their professional ethics have nothing to be afraid of.
A regulated social media space will give room for saner minds that will promote values that we can be proud of as a country.
May God bless Nigeria.