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 owners of social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
The court gave the summon pursuant to an application by ARCON in a pending N30 billion suit against the social media giant for violating Nigeria’s extant advertising laws.
The writ will be served at Meta’s US corporate headquarters.
Meta is the first defendant in the suit, while AT3 Resources Limited is the second defendant.
ARCON is seeking a declaration that the publication of various advertisements and marketing communication materials targeted at Nigeria via Meta 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 her citizens.
ARCON also wants an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their privies, agents and associates from publishing any advertising or marketing communication materials without recourse to the body in line with the country’s advertising law.
The country’s advertising body is seeking N30 billion in fines and sanctions for the continued violation and infractions of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria Act No. 23 of 2022.
Currently, advertisers on Facebook pay a 7.5% VAT to have their adds displayed with the money going to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
If ARCON gets judgement in it’s favour then, there is high possibility that the cost for vetting adds would fall on the advertiser and not Meta.
Writing by Tersoo Nicholas