The “Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill 2019,” otherwise known as the Social Media Bill is getting intense backlash from Nigerians.
The bill, which has passed a second reading in the senate, seeks to prohibit statements on social media that, among other things, can “influence the outcome of an election” or “diminish public confidence … of any power by the government.”
This basically means that we’ll hardly be able to tweet about elections at all (campaigns are definitely out of it) and criticise the government on social media.
There’s also the Hate Speech Bill being currently debated, and the senators seem to be in favour of that, too. The parameters of what will be defined as hate speech is unclear.
So what are Nigerians doing?
They are demanding from their representatives, the senators, that the social media bill is not representative of their wishes. They say they don’t want it. They’re sending mails and texts and making calls. They say do not support the bill.
The National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria: Stop the Social Media Bill!!!
Please sign the Petition https://t.co/fnXUwgEbf6
— Ebuka Obi-Uchendu (@Ebuka) November 23, 2019
Good morning ! Hope all is well. Well it’s not. If the social media bill passes law enforcement agencies have the right to shut down internet at any time.This means if we are shouting about something our government is doing.They can TURN OFF our internet! #SayNoToSocialMediaBill pic.twitter.com/5CDw33djsx
— Bolanle Olukanni (@bolanleolukanni) November 22, 2019
You saw the Senator that assaulted a woman while he was shopping for sex toys vehemently defend the social media bill. He is no fool, he knows that in a world where that bill exists as law, you’d go to jail for debating his barbaric behaviour online.
— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) November 22, 2019
Below are the contact details of the 109 Senators. Don't just retweet, but also take action. Send an email! Send text messages! Call them! Tell your friends and families to do the same! TALK TO YOUR SENATORS!#Thread
— Ólùsó àti Áfàdúràjagun Íjo Patriarchy (@VillageParrot) November 22, 2019
Details of 109 Senators in the 9th Assembly. Pls take time to call or sms all 3 senators representing you (or more if you reside somewhere other than state of orign) & tell them #NoToSocialMediaBill
*We need details for HoR Members too https://t.co/j4USH20CXl
— Ayisha Osori (@Naijavote) November 23, 2019
I sent an sms to Senator T.A Orji, former governor of Abia State that he should vote against the “Hate Speech & Social Media Regulation Bill”, I also told him that I don’t like him that he never served any purpose that I benefitted from. Sen. Orji called me,visibly angry that
— BB London (@basorgebastos) November 22, 2019
Even Senator Abaribe replied me saying: You said you don’t like but you ask me to vote how you want? I replied him saying
“Remember otu onu in 2003? Imagine if your supporters were hanged for what they did going by today's hate speech”?
Read more on Abaribe’s 2003 campaign.
— BB London (@basorgebastos) November 22, 2019
— DesmonD Steven (@iam_deezydez) November 22, 2019
Amazing!!!! I just called my senator and he picked. I explained to him every reason why he shouldn’t be in support of the #SocialMediaBill and he stated his position in which fake news was prominent . After the back and forth , he agreed to look into into the bill https://t.co/5X0SQmqsFC
— Jake Corleone (@Hitee_) November 22, 2019
— ATUNBI ERIN ? (@Atunbi_Shittu) November 22, 2019
My own contribution. Nigerians need to be fearless. pic.twitter.com/WX8qdmOAWt
— Uche Aisha Kanabe (@uckanabe) November 22, 2019
I have done my own part. Please try for others to do theirs. pic.twitter.com/K778zXEbrs
— Tokan (@futurKing) November 22, 2019
— ICONIC DUMEBI (@anthonydumebi) November 22, 2019
Just sent my senator an email pic.twitter.com/BFIc1gtk5E
— Surv. Tommy Agida (Ubiquitous). (@agida_idom) November 23, 2019
I have sent mine! pic.twitter.com/PCEffc92Ok
— kc nwamama (@thekelechiamadi) November 22, 2019
— Fuhad (@OrmortaayorP) November 22, 2019
Added my voice therein honour lies. I hope and pray they listen and tow the path of honour. pic.twitter.com/PlasJYsPag
— Lagos 1st son (@adejobiadeleye) November 22, 2019
I just called Senator Mustapha representing Ogun state, I heard him telling someone bami ka owo yii….. Low key I want the money too???? but I ended telling him the social media is our safe haven!!!!
— Count Your blessings!!!! (@Bkaybubu) November 22, 2019
Am happy to have sent my opinion to my senator.
I await his response. pic.twitter.com/ILW9XKJePe
— We, The Igbos (@benuzo11) November 22, 2019
Thank youuuu!! Just sent this to my senator pic.twitter.com/ruL7OEsnGr
— The Sossa (@OluwafemiSossa) November 22, 2019
— Temitope Johnson Adebowale (@ToppysonPT) November 22, 2019
This morning, I sent an email to the Senators representing me @OvieOmoAgege and @YAYIAdeola from Delta and Lagos State respectively expressing my strong concerns against the proposed social media Bill. #SayNoToSocialMediaBill pic.twitter.com/2Wnkibi6De
— Oke Umurhohwo (@OkeStalyf) November 23, 2019
Decided to send a mail as they both won’t pick my calls.
— RIP GRANDMA (@ojochideobidi) November 22, 2019
— LEO (@OlotuEmmanuel) November 22, 2019