- Nigeria’s advertising regulatory body has secured court approval to serve a writ of summons on Meta in continuation of its N30 billion suit.
- The writ is to be served at the United States corporate headquarters of Meta.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), leave to serve a writ of summons on Meta Platform, social media giant and owners of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
The court gave the nod pursuant to an application by ARCON in a pending N30 billion suit against the social media giant for violation of the extant advertising laws of Nigeria. The writ is to be served at the United States corporate headquarters of Meta.
While Meta is the first defendant in the suit, AT3 Resources Limited is the second defendant.
Why ARCON is suing Meta
ARCON is seeking a declaration that the publication of various advertisements and marketing communications materials targeted at Nigeria through Meta’s platforms without prior vetting and approval by the 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.
What ARCON is seeking
ARCON is seeking a 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 the same is vetted and approved before exposure is illegal, unlawful and a violation of the extant advertising Law in Nigeria.
Th regulatory body also wants an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their privies, agents, servants, and associates from publishing any advertising or marketing communications materials without recourse to ARCON in line with the country’s advertising law.
It 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.
ARCON also wants all ads placed on Meta’s platforms to be subjected to a vetting and approval process before they can be posted. This would also involve the would-be “advertiser” paying to have it vetted.
What it means for Nigerians placing ads on Meta platforms
Currently, advertisers on Facebook pay a 7.5% Value Added Tax charge to display their ads; this money goes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service. If ARCON wins its case in court, then there is a high possibility that the cost for vetting would fall on the advertiser and not Meta.
In 2019, APCON introduced a N25,000 online advertising fee which progressively increased depending on the urgency, this may be applied to Facebook and Instagram ads. This means that Nigerians will be paying more to advertise on Facebook and Instagram.
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