What I think vs. What they think:
Guess who just joined the movement of regulating social media in Nigeria? ALTON! Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria. They recently called for licensing and regulation of over-the-top services like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp Messenger.
Just so you know, this desire to regulate social media in Nigeria has been going on way before now. There was a case about NCC planning to regulate social media in 2016. Another report was made in 2017:
Then let’s not forget about this one:
And now, in 2018, we have another call for regulation:
So why the desperation?
In the words of Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, the Chairman of ALTON:
We are beginning to see the need for regulators to look at regulating technology instead of services. For example, the likes of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Blackberry Messenger and many others are called over-the-top services that are not part of the core services for which operators are licensed. These over-the-top services have social, economic and security implications. If they are not licensed, it means they are not regulated, and in that case, there is no limit to the scope of what they can do. There is also no control over services and content they may provide,
However, I am guessing the real reason behind this move is to generate revenue— the Telcos are not making as much of a profit as they used to, majorly because modern communication platforms like Twitter, Whatsapp, to name a few, have overtaken traditional mediums like SMS and phone calls. However, there is also the fact that Nigerians spend a lot on data:
..And these apps mentioned consume a lot of data!
So, it’s safe to say that this is just a case of:
Now, if you think this is a Nigerian thing:
Well, think again! But the truth remains that Nigerians cannot be expected to have these services regulated or pay more for them just because it is hurting the profit of traditional telecommunications companies.