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FG In Talk With Twitter On Conditions To Lift Suspension

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The federal government has given conditions to lift its indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.

On Monday, The minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, held a meeting with some envoys to discuss the condition which must be met to restore Twitter operation in Nigeria.

The Minister said that the operations of the microblogging and social networking platform will be restored in Nigeria if only the platform can be used “responsibly”

Onyeama was asked when the suspension would be lifted, he affirmed that there is no definite timeline on when the suspension will be lifted, “The condition would be a responsible use of the social media and that really has to be it.”

He also explained, “We are not saying that Twitter is threatening the country or any such thing; why we have taken this measure is to stop them to be used as platforms for destabilisation and facilitation of criminality or encouragement of criminalities.”

At the meeting held in Abuja on Monday were the envoys of the US, UK, Canada and the European Union, all of whom had condemned the “indefinite” suspension of Twitter in Nigeria.

Despite the government’s claim that Twitter is being used to undermine the existence of Nigeria, some have argued the suspension may be connected to the company’s decision to delete President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet recently.

In a joint statement issued on Saturday, the envoys had said: “We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as around the world and these rights apply online as well as offline. Banning systems of expression is not the answer.”

This prompted the federal government to invite them to the meeting. After the parley held behind closed doors, Onyeama said both parties had successful discussions on the issue.

The minister said the government takes the comments of the envoys “very seriously”, hence the decision to discuss the matter with them in the “usual friendly way.”

He, however, insisted that the Buhari administration has to keep an eye on its “main objective and legacy” which, according to him, is the security of lives and property.

He said Nigeria will not sit back and watch social media being used to “destabilise” the country, adding: “We want to use social media for good.”

“Differences of opinion is not a problem; everybody will not think alike,” Onyeama said.

“But lives matter; Nigerian lives matter and we have to do everything we can to preserve Nigerian lives. And when we feel our goals are threatened, actions need to be taken.”

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Opera Launches Hype, an in-browser Chat Service for Opera Mini Users, in South Africa

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Today, Opera has announced the launch of its dedicated chat service Hype, built into the Opera Mini mobile web browser, in South Africa. With the introduction of Hype, Opera is redefining the concept of mobile browsers, providing users with a personalized, engaging browsing experience that enables seamless chatting, surfing and sharing – without compromising speed or driving increased data consumption.

Browsing and chatting, all in one app

Hype is the first African-inspired chat service built into a mobile browser, allowing users to easily set up an account and start chatting with secure end-to-end encryption right away. This means users can now browse the web, chat with friends, and share self-created memes, stickers and GIFs with other Hype users, all in one app.

Hype was built because younger generations of internet users are expecting more social connectivity from the apps they use on their devices. With this integration, Opera Mini becomes the first major browser in the world to integrate a social component that keeps users connected to the ones that matter the most. This unique and innovative blend is something that no other mobile browser in the Google Play Store offers.

Hype is an original instant messaging service from Opera, designed for the new generation of African internet users to elevate the traditional browsing experience and make it more engaging. With Opera Mini and a Hype account, South Africans can enjoy a browsing and chatting ecosystem tailored to their needs,” said Jørgen Arnesen, EVP Mobile Browsers at Opera. “Hype bridges cultures from Sub-Saharan Africa with mobile technology, as the world’s first African-inspired chat service.

Hype was first launched in 2021 in Kenya as a pilot market, and it is already showing impressive results with more than 400k activations and more than 10k invites to join Hype per day. This launch was one facet of Opera’s emphasis on investing and growing its digital ecosystem in Africa, with the goal of bringing more people online.

Free chatting with Hype

To help familiarize people with the concept of an easy-to-use chatting service built into a browser and as a response to the high cost of data in South Africa, Opera has partnered (https://bit.ly/3gi1suV) with CELL C in South Africa to enable free daily browsing and chatting for those using the service. Users of Opera Mini (https://bit.ly/2TeFhh3) and CELL C can activate the free data anytime by opening the Feedback Bot in Hype, sending “Unlock my free data” in chat, then clicking the link in the reply message. The free 25MB of mobile data per day will be activated when the page is loaded.

Key features

Opera is constantly working on improving the chatting experience. Hype users can now use link previews, GIF support, and the unique built-in meme creator to make chatting with friends even more personal and fun.

The built-in meme creator

Memes are an essential part of internet culture. People not only use existing memes, but also wish to create and spread their own. Now, Opera has introduced the first meme creator built directly into a browser’s messenger! Users can choose memes in Hype chat, then edit them by changing the text and experimenting with fonts, colors and placement – more easily than ever. This comes in handy as users no longer need to copy links from websites and switch between apps to share the memes they want.

GIF support in chat

Hype supports GIFs, and makes choosing them super simple with its search capabilities and scrollable GIF grid. To help users choose the one they want, GIF previews and full screen view are also available.

Link previews

It’s always good to know what’s hiding behind a link we’ve sent or received, which is why Hype comes with the link preview feature. With it, a snapshot preview, website header and description will automatically appear in chat. This function is also available in encrypted chats and on metered networks.

Share online content in a snap

Today, new generations are relying on formats like memes and stickers to express themselves. To make this easier, Hype includes WebSnap, a feature already known from the Opera desktop browser, allowing users to take snapshots from the web. Once a websnap is captured, users can edit it by adding colors, text and emojis, making it fun and entertaining before sharing with others. WebSnap also allows users to smoothly share the link of the original website from which they took their snaps, so users no longer need to switch between apps to share the content they want.

First African inspired chat service in the world

Hype is the first African inspired chat service built into a mobile browser. It offers its users a series of stickers created by African artists such as Musonda Kabwe from South Africa. The sticker packs have been designed to include everyday expressions currently popular in South Africa. This unique offer from Hype stands out from other chat services and gives South Africans the new ways of expressing themselves more accurately when using chat apps.

Hype account setup

To activate the Hype account, users should have an Opera Mini application. Users set up a Hype account by tapping the Hype logo at the bottom of the Opera Mini browser, or through the O menu. Next they choose their name and take a selfie or upload a personalised photo, which will become their profile picture and will be visible for other Hype users. Once this process is completed, users sync Hype with their phone contact list to start chatting with others.

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FG Denies Giving Conditions To Lift Twitter Suspension

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, has denied media reports quoting him as giving conditions for lifting the suspension of Twitter Operations in Nigeria.

ON Monday, the minister held talks with some envoys of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union. Mr. Oyenma had said that “Twitter’s operations in Nigeria will be restored only if the platform can be used responsibly”.

However, Ferdinand Nwonye, the spokesperson for the ministry said the “Minister has been quoted out of context.”

In a statement released on Monday shortly after the meeting to clarify the Minister’s comments, the statement reads;

“The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to misleading reports by several media outlets published today, June 7, 2021, in which the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, was misquoted as giving conditions for lifting the Twitter suspension.

“The Minister, after a meeting with some Heads of Diplomatic Missions resident in Nigeria, was quoted to have said that Twitter’s operations in Nigeria will be restored only if the platform can be used responsibly.

“This statement by the Minister has been quoted out of context.

“Contrary to the publications, the Minister was speaking about the responsibilities that go with freedom of speech, stating that platforms that have the power to instantly disseminate information among billions of people have the added responsibility to exercise that power responsibly.

“The ministry wishes to state categorically that the Minister did not give any conditions regarding lifting the Twitter suspension.”

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SERAP Condemns NBC’s Directive to All Broadcasting Stations to Deactivate Twitter Handles

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned the directive by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to all broadcast stations in the country to suspend the patronage of Twitter with immediate effect.

NBC had given the directive on Monday following the suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria by the federal government over the purported use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining the corporate existence of Nigeria.

But SERAP, in a statement by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, described the directive as illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and has political interference written all over it.

SERAP said it’s also a blow to Nigerians’ rights to freedom of expression, media independence and diversity and must be immediately withdrawn.

The statement read in part: ”Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. This action by NBC is yet another nail in the coffin for human rights, media freedom and independent journalism under this government. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights should publicly and vigorously express concerns over the Nigerian government’s increasingly brutal crackdown on media freedom, and use all possible means to urge the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to protect and respect freedom of expression.

”The international community should stand with the broadcast stations and journalists and make clear to the Nigerian government that freedom of expression, media freedom, transparency and accountability, as well as respect for the rule of law is essential to democracy. The UN and donors should continue to take every opportunity to call on the Nigerian government to rescind the unlawful suspension of Twitter in Nigeria, respect freedom of expression and media freedom and hold to account anyone targeting broadcast stations and journalists simply for carrying out their profession.”

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