Nigerian Government Sues Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Over Adverts, Demands N30 Billion

Nigerian Government Sues Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Over Adverts, Demands N30 Billion

  • The Nigerian government is seeking N30 billion damages from Meta Platforms, owners of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp
  • The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) said that adverts on Meta Platforms are illegal and unlawful
  • The Nigerian government, through ARCON says that continued contravention by Meta is unlawful

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The Nigerian government wants to regulate advertisements on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, and, by extension, social media.

The adverts comprise mainly small businesses which seek exposure through social media; if allowed, they would have to be vetted by an agency of the federal government before approval.

Meta Platforms Incorporated, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram
Meta Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zuckerberg Credit: David Greene
Source: Getty Images

Federal government demands N30 billion in damages

Due to this, the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has said that it has filed a lawsuit at the Federal High Court in Abuja against Meta Platforms Incorporated, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp owners, and its agent ATT3 Resources Limited.

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Vanguard reports that the country's highest advertising regulatory body stated on Tuesday, October 4, 2022, that adverts on Facebook and its other family of apps in Nigerian markets are not vetted and approved by the Nigerian government.

ARCON stated that such unsupervised adverts and other publications from the Mark Zuckerberg-owned Meta Platforms are illegal, unlawful and an infringement of the advertising laws in Nigeria.

ARCON speaks

The federal government is seeking N30 billion in damages as a punitive measure.

ARCON's statement reads:

"ARCON sues Meta platforms incorporated, seeks N30b in sanction and penalties."
"The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has instituted a suit against Meta Platforms Incorporated (owners of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp platforms) and its agent AT3 Resources Limited at the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division.
"ARCON is seeking a declaration, among others, that the continued publication and exposure of various advertisements directed at the Nigerian market through Facebook and Instagram platforms by Meta Platforms Incorporated without ensuring same is vetted and approved before disclosure is illegal, unlawful, and a violation of the extant advertising Law in Nigeria.

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"ARCON stated that Meta Platforms Incorporated's continued exposure of unvetted adverts has also led to a loss of revenue to the Federal Government.
"ARCON is seeking N30b in sanction for violating the advertising laws and for loss of revenue due to Meta Incorporated's continued exposure of unapproved adverts on its platforms.
"ARCON reiterated that it would not permit unethical and irresponsible advertising in Nigeria's advertising space.
"ARCON further stated that it's not regulating the online media space but rather advertisement, advertising and marketing communications on the online platforms in line with its establishment Act."

Mark Zuckerberg falls off the list of 10 wealthiest Americans

Recall that reported that for the first time in seven years, Facebook owner and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is not on the list of 1o wealthiest Americans.

The tech billionaire has lost half his wealth. A Forbes report says that about $76.8 billion has been wiped off his fortunes since September last year.

His loss has seen him drop from N0 3 on the Forbes 400 list of America's wealthiest people to N0 11.


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