Sunday, August 1

Social Networks

Facebook Suspends Huawei From Pre-Installing Its App And WhatsApp On Its Phones
Apps, Social Networks

Facebook Suspends Huawei From Pre-Installing Its App And WhatsApp On Its Phones

Huawei is running into more problems after the US government banned major tech firms from doing business with the Chinese company. Reuters is reporting that Facebook is now joining Google, Microsoft, and others in the Huawei ban. What now? The social network giant is reportedly pulling its apps from Huawei devices. More specifically, Huawei will no longer be able to pre-install Facebook apps on its new phones, and that includes Facebook itself, as well as WhatsApp and Instagram. Facebook said the company’s apps will continue work and receive updates for existing users, but new users who get new (and existing) phones, won’t be able to get the apps pre-installed. Facebook blocking its popular apps from being pre-installed on Huawei devices is a big blow to the phone maker. Although...
Liberia has blocked social media as protesters demand the return of missing millions
Social Networks, West Africa

Liberia has blocked social media as protesters demand the return of missing millions

Thousands of Liberians descended on the capital Monrovia today to protest the corruption that has bedeviled president George Weah’s administration. The government’s response: blocking social media outlets. The internet monitoring organization NetBlocks said platforms including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook were blocked to subdue the protests. While the cut-off didn’t impact all providers, restrictions affected mobile internet provider Orange Liberia and internet service provider Lonestar. The social media shutdown was confirmed by assessing user measurements in the Liberian capital and in collaboration with the digital advocacy Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa. Dubbed “Save The State,” the anti-government protests come just over a year after...
Facebook is using AI to map exactly where Africa’s fast-growing population lives
AI, Social Networks

Facebook is using AI to map exactly where Africa’s fast-growing population lives

The population of Africa is growing rapidly. Today, one out of every six people on Earth live in Africa. In 2050, the United Nations “medium scenario” projections predicts one in four humans will live in Africa and in 2100, more than one in three. But in conversations about Africa especially about development, there are a few consistent talking points – an absence of data. This absence of data hurts African nations in their ability to make good policy and solve problems especially about a lack of infrastructure. To that end Facebook is using artificial intelligence to map population density around the world with a new type of world map as part of its Connectivity Lab project. Facebook first analyzed about 20 countries and covered 21.6 million square kilometers in 2016 to help d...
Facebook wants to build underwater cable dubbed ‘Simba’ around Africa
Social Networks

Facebook wants to build underwater cable dubbed ‘Simba’ around Africa

Plans aimed at lowering its bandwidth costs and strengthening link to African market Facebook Inc. is circling Africa. Literally. The company is in talks to develop an underwater data cable that would encircle the continent, according to people familiar with the plans, an effort aimed at driving down its bandwidth costs and making it easier for the social media giant to sign up more users. The three-stage project, named Simba after the lead character in “The Lion King,” could link up with beachheads in several countries on the continent’s eastern, western and Mediterranean coasts, though the exact route and number of landings is in flux, the people said. Facebook spokesman Travis Reed declined to comment on the company’s plans for Africa. “We look all over the world when we c...
South Africa will be tracking social media fake news ahead of the 2019 elections
Social Networks, Southern Africa

South Africa will be tracking social media fake news ahead of the 2019 elections

Can South Africa really hold a general election on 8 May 2019 in a way that it really represents the views of its people? One might have thought this was an academic question. The Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa is well respected and the country's legal system is robust. There are certainly enough political parties – around 285 are registered even if most are unlikely to participate in the May 2019 elections – for the national and nine provincial legislatures. However, there have been worrying signs about the use of disinformation during previous elections and these need to be heeded. Google is deploying some of its vast resources to train political parties, journalists and editors how to spot and fight fake ...
Meet the 21-year-old tech whiz who’s coded for Instagram and Snapchat
Africans in Tech, Apps, Social Networks

Meet the 21-year-old tech whiz who’s coded for Instagram and Snapchat

Iddris Sandu has done a lot in his 21 years.Besides creating algorithms for Instagram and Snapchat and consulting for Twitter, he's now working with Kanye West and Jaden Smith to create augmented-reality experiences around music and politics for the tech festival ComplexCon next year in Chicago. "With Jaden, we are getting more young people to vote and creating experiences around that," Sandu told CNN about his work with the musician and actor who is the son of Hollywood stars Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith.Born in Accra, Ghana, Sandu's parents came to the United States when he was 3. He learned to code when he was just 13, during a work experience at Google eight months after the tech giant moved into Frank Gehry's "Binoculars Building" in Venice, California.For Sandu, it was a l...
Why Mali has its own homegrown version of Facebook
Social Networks, West Africa

Why Mali has its own homegrown version of Facebook

Lenali is a social media app created for non-literate, oral-based communities In 2017, it was reported that Facebook had 170 million users in Africa --  seven out of every 10 Africans on the internet log into Facebook.  Platforms like WhatsApp, Viber and Instagram have become vitals tools of communication: for news, elections and, of course, selfies. Social media companies are eyeing Africa as a big growth market, with Facebook set to launch its first community hub in Nigeria this year.  However, platforms like Facebook largely center on written posts and conversation, as well as video. For those in the continent from oral-based, spoken language (non-literate) communities with little formal education, these platforms can be inaccessible. This is the case ...