The Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has sued Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, with a fine of ₦30 billion ($50 million) over violation of the advertising laws and for loss of revenue.
The lawsuit was lodged against Meta and its agent, AT3 Resources Limited – at the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division.
Why it matters:
The lawsuit came after the ARCON Act, 2022, was passed by the National Assembly and approved by the Nigerian president in August 2022.
The new bill repeals the Advertising Practitioners Act, Cap. A7, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004; recognising ARCON as the apex authority for the Nigerian advertising industry.
The lawsuit against Meta:
In a statement published by the regulatory body on Tuesday, October 04, ARCON revealed that the advertisements on Meta’s platforms in Nigeria are not properly vetted, and approved by the federal government. Furthermore, ARCON is stating that these platforms are procuring a loss of revenue adverts for the federal government.
The statement reads, “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 the 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 ₦30B in sanction for the violation of the advertising laws and loss of revenue as a result of Meta Incorporated’s continued exposure of unapproved adverts on its platforms.
“ARCON reiterates that it would not permit unethical and irresponsible advertising on 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.”
Recall that Facebook had announced that Nigerians will pay a 7.5 per cent value-added tax (VAT) on all ad placements from January 1, 2022.
The charge applies to those buying ads for both businesses or personal purposes.