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Rising COVID-19 Cases Dwarf OPEC+ Deal, COVID-19 Vaccine Positive Sentiment as Oil Sheds 1%

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U.S. Crude Oil - Investors King

Crude Oil Declines Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases in the United States

Oil prices declined by 1 percent on Tuesday following the persistent increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the United States and the heightened tensions between the two world’s largest economies, the United States and China.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, declined by 1 percent to $48.65 per barrel, while the United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) sheds 1.08 percent to $45.65 per barrel.

Oil gained last week following OPEC+ — OPEC and allies —  decision to increase output by 500,000 barrels per day starting from January 2021 and the decision of the United Kingdom to approve Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The two positive news boosted confidence across the global market as experts interpreted OPEC+ action as ‘expected surge in demand for crude oil’ next year while approval of COVID-19 vaccine means the world could return to business as early as January 2021.

However, the persistent increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States without 100 percent fact that the COVID-19 vaccine could work threw a spanner into the work.

The beginning of this week is like the morning hangover following a good night out that went a bit too far,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil markets at Rystad Energy. “With the OPEC deal in the bag, now traders looked back at fundamentals, demand and supply, and they were forced to come back to earth as things are not looking good in the short-term.

Also, the news that Iran had instructed the ministry of oil to prepare installations for the production and sale of crude oil at full capacity within three months weighed on the oil outlook.

Adding to the pressure on oil prices is the potential Iranian increase to production in three months,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA. “Iran is optimistic the U.S. will ease restrictions if they return back to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Social Media

Meta Shuts Down 63,000 Nigerian Accounts in Sextortion Crackdown

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In a significant move to combat online crime, Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has removed 63,000 accounts in Nigeria linked to sextortion scams.

This sweeping action is part of Meta’s ongoing effort to address the growing threat of digital extortion on its platforms.

Unmasking the Scammers

The crackdown, which took place at the end of May, targeted accounts engaged in blackmail schemes.

These scammers posed as young women to coerce individuals into sharing intimate photos, which were then used to extort money from the victims.

The removal follows a Bloomberg Businessweek exposé highlighting the rise of such crimes, particularly affecting teenagers in the United States.

The Global Impact

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has identified sextortion as one of the fastest-growing crimes targeting minors.

The schemes often lead to severe consequences, including the tragic suicides of more than two dozen teens.

In one high-profile case, the death of 17-year-old Jordan DeMay in Michigan led to the arrest of suspects traced back to Lagos, Nigeria.

The Role of the Yahoo Boys

Many of the dismantled accounts were linked to the “Yahoo Boys,” a notorious group known for orchestrating various online scams.

These individuals have been using social media to recruit and train new scammers, sharing blackmail scripts and fake account guides.

Meta’s Response

Meta’s spokesperson emphasized the company’s commitment to user safety, stating, “Financial sextortion is a horrific crime that can have devastating consequences.”

The company is continually improving its defenses and has reported offenders targeting minors to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

To enhance protection, Meta has implemented stricter messaging settings for teen accounts and safety notices regarding sextortion.

They are also employing technology to blur potentially harmful images shared with minors.

Ongoing Efforts

Meta’s actions highlight the complex and evolving nature of online crime. The company has pledged to remain vigilant, adapting its strategies to counter new threats as they emerge.

“This is an adversarial space where criminals evolve to evade our defenses,” Meta noted.

Looking Forward

As digital platforms continue to grapple with issues of privacy and security, Meta’s recent actions demonstrate a proactive stance in safeguarding users.

By dismantling these networks, the company aims to reduce the prevalence of sextortion and foster a safer online environment for all.

The crackdown serves as a reminder of the need for continued vigilance and collaboration between tech companies and law enforcement to protect individuals from the harmful effects of digital exploitation.

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Fintech

Flutterwave Celebrates Inclusion in CNBC’s Top 250 Global Fintechs

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Flutterwave has been recognized as one of the Top 250 Fintech companies globally by CNBC and Statista.

Joining the ranks of industry giants like Ali Pay, Klarna, Piggyvest, and Mastercard, this accolade underscores Flutterwave’s impact on the financial technology sector.

This honor follows Flutterwave’s recent inclusion in Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies list, highlighting the company’s pivotal role in transforming Africa’s payment landscape.

The recognition is a testament to Flutterwave’s dedication to innovation and excellence in providing seamless payment solutions across the continent.

Expressing gratitude, Flutterwave acknowledged its talented team, supportive board, reliable partners, and loyal customers for contributing to this success.

The company continues to drive progress in the fintech industry, reinforcing its commitment to enhancing financial accessibility and inclusion in Africa and beyond.

Flutterwave’s recognition on these prestigious lists marks a proud moment and a significant milestone in its journey, reflecting the company’s growing influence and leadership in the global fintech arena.

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Startups

Google Leads $250 Million Funding Round for Glance

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A logo is pictured at Google's European Engineering Center in Zurich

Google is leading a $250 million funding round for Glance, a mobile content provider.

This infusion of capital aims to expand Glance’s reach and solidify its market position amidst growing competition.

Glance, a subsidiary of InMobi Group, offers a unique service that delivers news, entertainment, and other content directly to users’ mobile screens without unlocking their devices.

With a user base exceeding 300 million across India, the US, Japan, and Indonesia, the startup has gained significant traction since its inception in 2019.

The funding round, expected to close in the coming weeks, marks a continued partnership between Google and Glance.

Google initially invested in the company in 2020, and this latest round will further enhance Glance’s capabilities to innovate and reach new audiences.

This investment reflects Google’s strategic interest in India, the world’s most populous nation, where it competes with tech giants like Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon.

With India’s rapidly growing middle class and increasing smartphone adoption, the market presents vast opportunities for digital expansion.

The support from Google comes on the heels of a previous $200 million investment by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s wealthiest individual, which valued Glance at over $1 billion.

The startup’s largest stakeholder, InMobi, continues to thrive as a pioneer in mobile advertising, with Glance benefiting from its expertise and resources.

As Glance prepares for this new phase of growth, it stands poised to redefine how content is consumed on mobile devices worldwide.

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