The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has dismissed reports that the President Muhammadu Buhari Federal Government is planning to shutdown internet services in the country, despite the misuse, Page 36 learnt.
He made this known at a meeting with Title Editors of newspapers, on Friday, in Lagos.
He complained bitterly about the dangers of fake news, and how it was used during the EndSARS protests, saying that, the government would seek ways to ensure responsible use of the social media.
His words: “Our fears about the abuse of social media, and specifically the dangers posed by fake news and disinformation, have come to pass. During the protest and the subsequent violence, fake news and disinformation were the order of the day.
“Social media was used for mobilisation, and it was also used to guide arsonists and looters to properties, both public and private, which were targeted for attack.
“Celebrities who were listed as killed at Lekki quickly dispelled the report of their deaths. Discerning Nigerians exposed the fact that pictures of some non-Nigerians were used to justify the hoax massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate.
“This development has strengthened our resolve to work with stakeholders to stop the abuse of social media. It has also rekindled the debate on the need to regulate social media content, a debate that is not limited to Nigeria.
“On our part, we will not sit down and allow a reckless use of social media to aggravate our fault lines and throw the country into turmoil. But in curbing the excesses of social media, rest assured, gentlemen, that we will neither shut down the internet nor stifle press freedom or free speech, as some have insinuated. We also acknowledge that social media is here to stay.”