FG Sues Meta, Demands N30bn

The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has been granted leave by the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to serve a writ of summons on Meta, the owner of Facebook.

The court granted the nod in response to ARCON’s application in a pending N30 billion suit against the social media giant for violating Nigeria’s advertising laws. The writ is to be served at the Meta corporate headquarters, which also owns Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp social media platforms.

The first defendant in the suit is Meta, while AT3 Resources Limited is the second defendant. ARCON is seeking a declaration that publishing various advertisements and marketing communications materials targeted at Nigeria through Meta’s platforms without prior vetting and approval by its advertising standards panel is illegal.

The regulatory body also claimed that the act disregarded Nigerian culture, constitutional tenets, moral values and religious sensitivity of citizens.

In line with Nigeria’s advertising law, ARCON is seeking an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the defendants, their privies, agents, servants and associates from publishing any advertising or marketing communications materials without recourse to ARCON.

The regulatory body is also seeking N30 billion in fines and sanctions for the continued violations and infractions of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria Act No. 23 of 2022.

The case has generated mixed reactions from the public, with some applauding ARCON’s efforts to regulate advertising in the country, while others believe the fine is too steep.

The court case has been seen as an opportunity to bring the regulation of social media advertising under the spotlight, and this is expected to have significant implications for other social media giants in the country.

ARCON believes that Meta’s actions have not only violated Nigerian law but have also infringed on the rights of Nigerian consumers.

The regulatory body has made it clear that it will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize its efforts to protect the public from unethical advertising practices.

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