• Industry practitioners react

The apex advertising regulatory body, Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), has instituted a suit against Meta Platforms Incorporated, owners of micro blogging sites- Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and its Nigerian agent, AT3 Resources Limited at the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division.

ARCON is seeking declaration among others that the continued publication and exposure of various advertisements directed at the Nigerian market through Facebook and Instagram platforms by Meta Platforms Incorporated without ensuring same is vetted and approved before exposure is illegal, unlawful and a violation of the extant advertising Law in Nigeria.

ARCON stated that Meta Platforms Incorporated’s continued exposure of unvetted adverts has also led to loss of revenue to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The apex ad regulatory body is seeking N30billion in sanction for the violation of the advertising laws and for loss of revenue as a result of Meta Incorporated’s continued exposure of unapproved adverts on its platforms.

ARCON reiterate that it would not permit unethical and irresponsible advertising on the Nigeria’s advertising space.

ARCON has consistently reiterated that it’s not regulating the online media space, rather the advertising and marketing communications content on the online platforms in line with its establishment Act.

A practitioner on one of the numerous WhatsApp groups discussing integrated marketing communications, said “So, after this, we should prepare the same case or apply the same judgement to Twitter, and other micro blogging site.”

Another practitioner who pleaded anonymity said that with this development, ARCON should be prepared to have a handful as several media organisations from broadcast, print, radio and online publications are as guilty has Facebook, Instagram and the rest.

“I hope you are aware that platforms and media need funds to survive and they rarely query the status of the content or creative material especially as the electioneering campaign has been flagged off. I sincerely hope that ARCON has enough layers to prosecute these cases that may come as the result of the new legislation,” he said.

While others believe that there need to regulate the industry, some simply stated that creators and buyers should bear the brunt rather than platforms.

“Actually, it’s like saying we want to regulate the advertisement on the sideboards in the stadium during the champions league match, broadcasted on DStv that Nigerian audiences have to watch,” he stated.