Mark Zuckerberg and his wife pledged to give away virtually all of their $46 billion in Facebook Inc. shares, setting a new philanthropic benchmark by committing their massive fortune to charitable causes while still in their early 30s.
Facebook’s chief executive officer and his wife, Priscilla Chan, unveiled the plan in an open letter to their newborn daughter, Max (short for Maxima), in a Facebook post on Tuesday, promising to donate 99 percent of their stock in the social-networking company “during our lives.”
The pledge puts Zuckerberg in the same league with other billionaires who are giving away the bulk of their wealth, including Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. The key difference is that Zuckerberg is starting at an earlier age, 31. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was created in 2000, the year the Microsoft Corp. co-founder turned 45.
Zuckerberg doesn’t plan to contribute more than $1 billion a year for at least the next three years, Facebook said in a separate filing, meaning the CEO will maintain voting control of the Menlo Park, California-based company for the foreseeable future.
Zuckerberg outlined his philanthropic goals, which will focus on “advancing human potential and promoting equality,” in the letter to his daughter, who was born early last week. Zuckerberg will make long-term investments in areas such as health and education, while working to decrease inequality and building technology to bring about change.
“Our society has an obligation to invest now to improve the lives of all those coming into this world, not just those already here,” Zuckerberg and Chan wrote. “But right now, we don’t always collectively direct our resources at the biggest opportunities and problems your generation will face.”
He added that he will remain Facebook’s CEO for “many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work.”
While Zuckerberg pegged the donation amount on the current value of his Facebook stock, the value of the gift could also grow. Shares of Facebook have climbed more than 180 percent since their market debut in 2012, and 90 percent of analysts who cover the company have a buy rating on the stock, meaning they expect it to go up. At the same time, the figure could be lower if investors determine in the future that Facebook’s stock is worth less.
It’s unusual for an executive to undertake such a broad philanthropic effort at so young an age. Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. who has committed almost all of his fortune to charity, has singled out Zuckerberg as someone who can set an example for a new generation of philanthropists.
“He has an audience that’s just totally different than what I would have,” Buffett, 85, said last year at a conference in Las Vegas. The Facebook co-founder previously signed the Giving Pledge, established by Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, in which billionaires agree to donate the majority of their fortunes to charity.
Buffett, whose current net worth is $64.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, decided to commit most of his Berkshire stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation when he was 75, after his the death of his first wife in 2004.
Before devoting himself to philanthropy, Gates chose to focus on his company rather than charitable efforts, much to the dismay of his own mother and local Seattle business and philanthropic leaders, Tom Alberg, co-founder of Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group, said in a recent interview. It was after the death of Mary Gates in the mid-90s that Gates began his first significant foray into charitable giving.
The Gates’s charitable foundation, now worth $41.3 billion, has given away more than $34 billion. Gates started the organization in 2000, subsuming two earlier entities: the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation. Both of the men have mentored Zuckerberg in his philanthropy efforts.
“On behalf of future generations, I thank them,” Buffett said of Zuckerberg and Chan in a statement.
There’s also one more thing in common with the philanthropic endeavors of Buffett, Gates and Zuckerberg: they reduce their tax bills, as the contributions are tax-deductible.
Zuckerberg isn’t new to philanthropy; he’s given to several education and health-related causes in the past few years. He and his wife recently started a school in one of Silicon Valley’s disadvantaged neighborhoods and a trauma center in San Francisco General Hospital, where Chan has worked as a pediatrician. The couple this week also started a coalition with Gates to invest in sustainable energy solutions. The new Chan Zuckerberg Initiative will be a limited liability company controlled by Mark and Priscilla, the couple said.
Today, 99 percent of Zuckerberg’s Facebook holdings have a value of $45 billion. If it was all to be gifted at once that would be enough to create the largest U.S. foundation, according to data compiled by Foundation Center. The pledge also situates Zuckerberg and Chan in a century-long tradition of American philanthropists that stretches back to industrialists Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller, whose foundations still rank among the biggest in the country.
“I absolutely think this propels Zuckerberg and his wife into that sphere,” said Berit Ashla, vice president at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. “They clearly are not going to be siloed grantmakers. I anticipate they will be quite interdisciplinary in terms of how they approach the work.”
Africa Records Over 1,600 Weekly Cyber Attacks
An average of 1,615 cyber-attacks has been said to affect organisations in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and other African countries, making the continent the highest victims of the attacks, cybersecurity solutions provider, CheckPoint Software Technologies (CST) says.
The breaches in Africa, according to CST, represent a 15 percent increase from 2020. The firm also disclosed that 2021 recorded a 50 percent rise in overall attacks per week on corporate networks globally, compared to the year before. CST noted that Asia Pacific (APAC) comes second place, with an average of 1,299 weekly attacks per organisation (20 per cent increase), followed by Latin America with an average of 1,117 attacks weekly (37 per cent increase), Europe with 665 (65 per cent increase) and North America with 497 (57 per cent increase).
The sectors which recorded the highest number of cyber-attacks were Education/Research with an average of 1,468 attacks per organisation, each week (increase of 60 per cent from 2020), followed by Government/Military with 1,082 (40 per cent increase) and Healthcare with 752 (55 per cent increase).
CheckPoint stated that one major attack was botnet, launched in 2021. The cybersecurity firm explained that botnet is a network of malware-infected computers that can be wholly-controlled by a single command and control centre operated by a cybercriminal. the network itself, which can be composed of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of computers, is then used to further spread the malware and increase the size of the network.
“The malware type that impacts organisations the most in 2021 is the botnet with an average of over eight per cent organisations being impacted weekly (a nine per cent decrease from 2020), followed by banking malware at 4.6 per cent (a 26 per cent increase) and cryptominer at 4.2 per cent (a 22 per cent decrease), ransomware 1.9 per cent and mobile 1.2 per cent,” CheckPoint said.
Warning organisations, CheckPoint claimed that the increase in multi-vector attacks designed to infect multiple components of an IT infrastructure in 2021, is alarming, adding that such attacks are the biggest challenge facing security practitioners, requiring effective measures to be put in place, such as preventing the attacks before they happen and employing a security architecture that enables and facilitates a single, cohesive protection
The firm advised that all attack surfaces and vectors in the business must be secured via a single solution that provides broad cyber security coverage, particularly in today’s multi-hybrid environment where the perimeter is now everywhere. Organisations are also to segment their networks, and apply strong firewall and intrusion prevention safeguards between the network segments. This, CheckPoint advised, contains infections from propagating across the entire network.
It further stressed that, “While there isn’t a single silver-bullet technology that can protect organisations from all threats and all threat vectors, there are many great technologies available, such as machine learning, sandboxing, anomaly detection, content disarmament, and many more. Each of these technologies can be highly effective in specific scenarios, covering specific file types or attack vectors.”
The cybersecurity experts noted that two important components to consider are threat extraction (file sanitisation) and threat emulation (advanced sandboxing), explaining that each element provides distinct protection. When used together, the threat extraction and emulation offer a comprehensive solution for protection against unknown malware at the network level and directly on endpoint devices.
SeamlessHR, Nigerian HR-Tech Startup Secures $10M in Series A Funding Round
SeamlessHR, a Nigerian-based HR-Tech startup announced it has secured $10 million in a Series A funding round to expand operations to East African countries and surrounding markets.
The funding round was led by TLcom Capital. Other participants are Capria Ventures, Lateral Capital, Enza Capital, Ingressive Capital, and some private investors.
According to the company, the secured fund will take SeamlessHR closer to achieving its vision of helping African businesses become more productive and successful through its cloud-based human resources (HR) and payroll software.
The company also intends to launch products with functionalities around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human Resources (HR) Data Analytics, this will strengthen the company’s position as Africa’s leading cloud HR and payroll platform.
SeamlessHR CEO, Emmanuel Okeleji said, “We are fanatical about customer success, and this funding will enable us to invest in the continuous optimisation of customer experience across all touchpoints, adding new features and functionalities to empower our customers even more.
Speaking on the new funding and SeamlessHR operations, Andreata Muforo, Partner at TLcom Capital said, “over the last few years, SeamlessHR has consistently demonstrated its ability to deliver a robust HR and payroll platform for Africa’s medium and large businesses”.
“The strong execution shown by Emmanuel and his team is a vital ingredient required to build a successful business, and as they expand their products to include embedded finance and launch their solutions to new markets, we’re proud to partner alongside them and strengthen their push to unlock more value within Africa’s B2B space.
“At TLcom, we believe SeamlessHR can be the preferred platform for businesses to digitise workplaces and support their personnel.”
Will Poole, co-founder & managing partner at Capria said, “SeamlessHR is addressing the needs of African enterprises in ways that the global giants can’t compete with by building customer-centric SaaS designed from the ground-up to address complexity unique to the continent.
“Now that they’ve proven they can address the needs of disparate countries across Africa, we are confident that they will be the solution provider of choice to support their customers that are expanding globally.”
SeamlessHR was founded in 2018 by Emmanuel Okeleji (CEO) and Deji Lana (CTO), the company presently has presence in Nigeria and Kenya.
Speaking on future plans, the CEO, Emmanuel Okeleji said, “we are building software solutions to optimize HR now, but in the future, we’ll go to other areas beyond HR. And we are positioned to build a global SaaS company because SaaS products can travel the world faster than, say, fintech. We’re beating global players in our local market and while we are not distracting ourselves now, we know we can play this game globally.”
Nigeria Lifts Twitter Ban Seven Months After Shutting it Down
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that Twitter Ban be lifted seven months after the federal government suspended the micro logging platform operations in Nigeria.
The Director of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, who also doubles as the Chairman, Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement made this known in a statement on Wednesday, in Abuja. According to him, the approval for the suspension of the ban follows a memo written to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) directs me to inform the public that President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the lifting of the suspension of Twitter operation in Nigeria effective from 12am tonight, 13th January 2022. The approval was given following a memo written to the President by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim.
“In the Memo, the Minister updated and requested the President’s approval for the lifting based on the Technical Committee Nigeria-Twitter Engagement’s recommendation,” Abdullahi said.
It can be recalled that Twitter’s operation was suspended seven months ago, on June 6, 2021 after the microblogging platform deleted a tweet by President Buhari, where he warned those (believed to be members of the Independent People of Biafra- IPOB) destroying INEC’s properties and buildings.
Since then, there has been a back and forth between the federal government who demanded that Twitter open a Nigerian Office and pay taxes, and the microblogging service. However, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in November last year, revealed that correspondence between the federal government and Twitter had reached an advanced stage. He noted that with a few issues to resolve, Twitter had been able to meet 10 out of twelve.
According to British firm, Top10VPN, the ban had affected around 104.4 million internet users in Nigeria. NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool also revealed that the ban costs Nigeria’s economy N103 million every hour. A week after the suspension, many Nigerians took to downloading Virtual Private Networks to access their Twitter accounts in the country.
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