Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Meta Platforms Incorporated, and its representative, AT3 Resources Limited, has been sued by the Nigerian government.
The suit was filed on behalf of the government by the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) in the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division.
The country’s advertising governing agency revealed on Tuesday that advertisements on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp in the Nigerian markets are not vetted and approved by the government.
According to ARCON, these advertisements by Meta Platforms Incorporated has exposed the government to loss-of-revenue in advertisements.
It said the continued unscrutinised adverts and other publications emanating from Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta-owned social media platforms are “illegal, unlawful and a violation of advertising law in Nigeria”.
It is requesting a $70million fine on Meta for breaking the advertising laws as well as compensation for lost sales.
A press statement issued on why the suit has been filed read: “The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has instituted a suit against Meta Platforms Incorporated (owners of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp platforms) and its 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 a loss of revenue to the Federal Government.
“ARCON is seeking N30b 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 further stated that it’s not regulating the online media space but rather advertisement, advertising and marketing communications on the online platforms in line with its establishment Act.”