Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, said the Internet Code of Practice will prevent big tech companies from becoming bigger than the government.
According to Nairametrics, Pantami stated this at Nigeria’s First Content Moderation and Online Safety Summit organised by the Advocacy for Policy and Innovation on Wednesday.
The event held in Abuja was themed, ‘The Challenge for Content Moderation and the Opportunity to Improve Online Safety in Nigeria’.
The minister, who was represented by the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Kashifu Inuwa, said, “In the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we shouldn’t allow anyone have unaccountable power over others.
“Today looking at the social media incidence before the US election, indicated that Big Tech has more power than the Government. Users are compelled to obey the Big Tech rules because of the restrictions and sanctions in its usage. For example, if you use Twitter there is a limit of the words you can tweet.”
He emphasised that in a democratic setting citizens should have representatives elected by people to write rules rather than a few. He opined, “this causes challenges such as the recruitment system being gender biased, or the recognition system being racist, and so on.”
“From the period of John Ballo’s declaration in 1996, which explains how he predicted a new cyber world without government, to Eric Smith’s comment that cyberspace is an ungoverned space; to 2018 when Mark Zuckerberg said that the real question is neither if there is need for regulation or not, but what is the appropriate regulation?” he queried.
Pantami concluded that those who control the online space must therefore be held accountable.
“We need to look at technology as a citizen, how it impacts our life, what the Big Techs should control, and under what conditions because we believe that today’s technology is central to our social, economic, and political lives.”