The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has brought forth a significant N30 billion ($44 million) lawsuit against Meta Platforms Incorporated, the conglomerate behind Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. ARCON asserts that Meta has transgressed Nigerian advertising regulations by allowing unverified advertisements to circulate on its Facebook and Instagram platforms.
According to ARCON, Meta’s failure to scrutinize ads has led to the dissemination of inappropriate and misleading content, causing harm to Nigerian consumers and undermining the integrity of the country’s advertising sector. In addition to seeking compensation for lost revenue incurred by the Nigerian government, the regulatory body is determined to ensure Meta’s compliance with Nigerian advertising laws through all available legal avenues.
Meta has vehemently refuted these allegations, asserting its adherence to Nigerian advertising legislation. Nonetheless, ARCON has vowed to pursue all legal channels to enforce Nigerian law.
This lawsuit is scheduled for a hearing in the Federal High Court of Abuja in October.
ARCON’s legal action marks a momentous milestone in Nigeria’s ongoing discourse concerning the regulation of social media platforms. Notably, ARCON is the first Nigerian regulatory entity to institute legal proceedings against a major social media platform for purported advertising law violations.
The outcome of this case may carry far-reaching implications for the future regulation of social media platforms in Nigeria. A favorable ruling for ARCON could set a precedent for other regulatory bodies to take legal measures against social media platforms found infringing upon their regulations.
Additionally, this case is expected to draw heightened attention to the pervasive issue of unvetted advertisements on social media platforms.
While the verdict remains uncertain, ARCON’s lawsuit underscores the serious commitment of Nigerian regulators to address the matter of unverified ads on social media platforms.