Social Media Bill

#SocialMediaBill 4 Times Social Media Saved Us in 2019

It was one of those days when the gods of Twitter shone the spotlight on your “woke” tweet.

It got over 2,000 retweets and 3,000 likes

And counting.

You’re pleased with yourself. You’re already contemplating your career as the Next Dr Joe Abah, Ogbeni Dipo or Omojuwa and thinking of the next post that will cement your status as an influencer.

How much will you charge?

What Car would you buy next?

You were thinking all of this when you heard “Kpom Kpom” on your door.

You weren’t expecting anybody

And that moment, you remembered the quote about good things happening unexpectedly.

You say a little prayer and on opening the door, at your doorsteps are men in suits and stern looks.

They asked for your name and just as you answered.

Before you could utter Jack not to talk of Robinson, they seized you and took into one Black Hilux.

It’s been 2 months and you’re still in their custody.

What did you do?

Your single viral tweet against the government.

This story might seem far-fetched. But in the light of the social media bill news going around, this can happen.

Like a Yahoo Yahoo boy who sees A Sars official, every tweep or social media person with an opinion on government would have to proceed with caution.

So, what’s the social media bill?

  • The bill which was proposed by Sen. Mohammed Sani Musa (Niger East Senatorial District)
  • The bill was re-introduced to the Senate on November 5 but had previously introduced in 2015 & 2018
  • The Social Media Bill is originally known as the ” ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019’
  • According to the Senator, The bill is aimed at curbing fake news on the internet not gag media users & practitioners

But what’s wrong with the Bill?

According to the bill,

“This Act is to prevent Falsehoods and Manipulations in Internet transmission and correspondences in Nigeria. To suppress falsehoods and manipulations and counter the effects of such communication and transmissions and to sanction offenders with a view to encouraging and enhancing transparency by Social Media Platforms using the internet correspondences.”

*The controversial part of the bill is in Italics*

(1) A person must not do any act in or outside Nigeria in order to transmit in Nigeria a statement knowing or having reason to believe that:-

(a) the transmission of the statements in Nigeria is likely to:-

(i) be prejudicial to the security of Nigeria or any part of Nigeria;

(ii) Be prejudicial to public health, public safety, public tranquility or public finances;

(iii) Be prejudicial to the friendly relations of Nigeria with other countries;

(iv) influence the outcome of an election to any office in a general election or a referendum;

(v) incite feelings of enmity, hatred directed to a person or ill‑will between different groups of persons; or

(vi) diminish public confidence in the performance of any duty or function of, or in the exercise of any power by the government.

The Punishment

This clause applies where :-

(a) a person that is an internet intermediary fails to comply with a Part 4 Regulation or Remedial Order; (b) the subject material is being transmitted in Nigeria on an online location; and

(2) Subject to subClause (3), a person who contravenes subClause (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction :- (a) in the case of an individual, to a fine not exceeding N300,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both; or

(b) in any other case, to a fine not exceeding N10 Million

Also, it seems the Federal Government is in support.

The Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed, affirmed that no responsible government would want the activities of social media that is capable of setting the country on fire.

Now, let’s take a look at the times when Social Media Won in 2019

1.) The Elisha Abbo Case

There was no falsehood here.

A distinguished Senator of Nigeria, Elisha Abbo, on the 11th of May 2019 was caught on video assaulting a pregnant woman in a sex toy shop.

The video went viral and the Senator was summoned and suspended.

He also paid a reported N20 Million compensation to the assaulted lady.

But the man still seats in the house.

The Win: Without social media this story wouldn’t have seen the light of day and such injustice would go unpunished.

2.) The Wadume Case

It was the Nigerian police using social media in this case. Three men from the Nigerian Police Intelligence unit were killed while transporting a known kidnapper from the north-east.

The policemen died on the spot while the kidnapper escaped.

The police shared this news on Twitter and it went viral.

Thereafter, the army confirmed it as true and the Policemen who were part of the team responsible for the arrest of the popular Kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, also known as Evans, in 2017.

The Win: And the Kidnapper, Hamisu Bala Wadume, was re-arrested and his statement he said it was the Army officials that helped him escape

Do you think if the story hadn’t gone viral, a re-arrest would have happened?

3.) The Sars Wars

This one is still ongoing.

There have been many extrajudicial killings by the members of the Special Anti Robbery Corrupt which many have tagged as “rogue and corrupt” that would have gone unnoticed if not for Social media Platforms.

One of such cases is the killing of Kolade Johnson who was killed by a stray bullet after watching a Premier League Match.

Thank God for social media, the alleged excesses of the organization are shown for all to see.

The Win: At one point, the Vice-president ordered an “Overhaul” of the unit

4.) The Sex for Marks Story

This is one of the most popular scandals of 2019.

The Sex for Marks story was an undercover investigation into the alleged demand for sex for mark upgrade by some lecturers in Nigeria’s top Universities.

The Sex for Marks videos went viral and it gave more people the avenue to share their own stories.

The Win: And some lecturers in various schools nationwide were suspended as a result of this investigation and other stories.

Although social media has its dark sides especially with the fake news but doesn’t the pros of social media outshine the cons of social media?

I would leave that for you to answer.

Drop your thoughts in the comments section

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