NITDA releases new guidelines to regulate social media use

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The National Information Technology Agency, NITDA, has released new regulatory guidelines to regulate the use of social media in Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the country.

This is in its acknowledgement of the important role the social media plays in promoting government policies and propagating ideas in the public.

The social media guideline is among the five regulatory guidelines presented by NITDA on Friday, which will be used to regulate the application of ICT in public institutions across the country.

In a press briefing in Abuja, the Director General of NITDA, Dr Ibrahim Isa Pantani told journalists that the guidelines for the use of social media platforms in public institutions became necessary following the need to maintain consistency on the information made available to the public through the public institution’s social media platform.

According to Pantani, in so many cases, when the handlers of public institutions social media platforms leave office, they convert the social media accounts to their personal use, which makes the institutions lose much of its important data.

According to him, “We all acknowledge the dynamism and broad-reach social media offers the public sector in reaching and communicating with citizens. However, it is also obvious how increasingly the lines may get blurred between representing the ideas of government and personal idea through these platforms.

“In some cases, due to the absence of clear policies by Federal institutions, important information and records are lost when handlers of these platforms either move from their roles or leave the organization. This constitutes a risk to Information management and public accountability.

“NITDA will continue to monitor the use of social media for federal public institutions to ensure consistency and professional use of these platforms.”

The five regulatory guidelines presented by NITDA includes: Rulemaking Process of NITDA, Nigeria Data Protection Regulation, Guidelines for Clearance of Information Technology Projects, Framework and Guidelines for Public Internet Access (PIA), and Framework and Guidelines for the Use of Social Media Platforms in Public Institutions.

Ibrahim said the five guidelines were geared towards the development of Information technology practices in Nigeria.

He said the agency would not hesitate to sanction violators of the Regulatory Instrument appropriately.

The NITDA boss said the Agency’s team painstakingly and tirelessly researched and consulted widely during the development of these Regulatory Instruments.

“The Agency has taken its Regulatory responsibility seriously, and in 2019 it will ensure that violators of NITDA’s Regulatory Instruments are appropriately sanctioned. Our Standards, Frameworks and Guidelines are regulatory policies and are issued for the sake of being relevant.

“The IT sector cannot be effectively developed without relevant rules and regulations creating a certain level of uniformity, consistency and careful investments in the right type of technology systems needed in a country such as ours.”

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