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Nigeria’s Twitter Ban Leaves Some Businesses in the Lurch

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Lagos-based entrepreneur Ogechi Egemonu was selling more than 500,000 naira ($1,219) worth of watches, shoes and handbags on Twitter per week.

Now, with the site suspended by the Nigerian government, Egemonu does not know how she will cope.

“Social media is where I eat,” she told Reuters. “I depend on social media for my livelihood.”

Scores of small and medium-sized businesses across Africa’s most populous nation – and largest economy – are reeling from the indefinite suspension of the social media site.

Nigeria announced the suspension on June 4, days after the platform removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish regional separatists. Most telecommunications sites have since blocked access.

NOI Polls estimates that 39.6 million Nigerians use Twitter – 20% of them for business advertisement and 18% to look for employment. Experts warn its lack of ready availability – it is accessible using Virtual Private Networks that mask location – could ripple across the economy.

“The ban has significant collateral damage,” said Muda Yusuf, director general of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, who said that a “sizeable number of citizens” use Twitter to make a living.

REVENUE LOSS

Parliament’s minority caucus warned the suspension was costing Nigerians “billions of naira on a daily basis.”

Dumebi Iyeke, a research analyst with the Financial Derivatives Company, said it would hit young Nigerians – among whom there is a 45% unemployment rate – the hardest.

“We are looking at a potential loss in their revenue,” Iyeke said, adding that it could further lower living standards amid high inflation.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed last week said that all social media sites must register a local entity and get a license to operate. He cited complaints over lost money as proof that the ban was effective, but said other sites are still available.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Meet Twitter’s New CEO, Parag Agrawal

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Agrawal Praga Twitter New CEO- Investorsking

The Indian-born Parag Agrawal was appointed the new CEO of Twitter on Monday, picking the leadership baton from the outgoing CEO, Jack Dorsey. Data from Bloomberg showed that Agrawal is the youngest CEO to run a company in the S&P 500.

The 37-year-old Agrawal was born in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India. His father was a senior official in the Indian Department of Atomic Energy and his mother is a retired school teacher. Agrawal obtained his B.Tech. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Bombay in 2005, and further pursued Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University in the United States.

According to his LinkedIn profile, he began his career as a researcher with Microsoft in 2006, thereafter worked with Yahoo!. He later returned to Microsoft in 2009, keeping his old role. Mid-year 2020, he joined AT&T Labs, Inc. after which he joined Twitter as Distinguished Software Engineer in 2017, a few years after he rose to the post of Chief Technical Officer. He’s currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer at Twitter.

The company revealed that Jack Dorsey, the outgoing CEO, will remain on the company’s board of directors until his term expires in 2022. While serving as Twitter’s CEO, Dorsey was also working with his payment processing company, Square in the same capacity as CEO. However, it was believed that his resignation from Twitter will enable him to focus on his payment company and also pursue other interests.

The new CEO, Agrawal is the first full-time CEO Twitter has had in years. Following his appointment on Monday, he sent his first official message as the CEO to Twitter employees. He said, “We recently updated our strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right,”

“But our critical challenge is how we work to execute against it and deliver results — that’s how we’ll make Twitter be the best it can be for our customers, shareholders, and for each of you.

“The world is watching us right now, even more than they have before, It’s because they care about Twitter and our future, and it’s a signal that the work we do here matters”. Agrawal wrote on Monday.

Twitter shareholders are expecting Agrawal to create a clear path strategy towards building the company’s revenue and engagement metrics. Despite the expanding growth of Twitter’s users, the company still lags behind in growth, stock returns and revenue compared to its peers in the social media space like Snapchat and Meta. Although Jack Dorsey has upped the company’s return and revenue by 62 percent and 68 percent respectfully since he took leadership in 2015, however, this could not be compared to the growth recorded by its social media rival, Meta, previously Facebook who reportedly gained over 250 percent in stock returns and over 4 times sales growth in the same time frame.

Speaking on the expectations from the new CEO, Jill Wilson the chief marketing officer for Esquire Digital said Agrawal is expected to pick up where Dorsey left off and continue to fight for users which are being lured away by competitors like TikTok and Instagram. “Agrawal has his work cut out for him in terms of keeping Twitter relevant and getting the everyday user on board, and monetizing the platform in general”. She added.

However, Mark Shmulik, an equity research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein believed otherwise. He argued that in order to remain competitive Agrawal may need to change the company’s culture so as to ensure that new products and strategies can be implemented at a quicker pace than it was done in the past leadership. “Can he at least avoid being the cog that everything needs to go through to get approvals and to get things moving? Can he give more autonomy to different parts of the org so they can move at a quicker pace?” Shmulik said.

Although Agrawal is just coming to the public limelight, growing Twitter business isn’t the only challenge at hand but also the moderation of speech through Twitter which has become a growing concern in the political sphere. “The new CEO will need to work out how to stop his platform being a machine that is routinely and perpetually hijacked to distort the news agenda, produce fake popularity and influence, and provide a warped lens on the world,” said Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

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Meta, Formerly Facebook, Cryptocurrency Head to Quit the Company

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David Marcus

Facebook parent company Meta’s head of cryptocurrency David Marcus has recently announced that he will be leaving the company by the end of the year.

The departure of David Marcus comes after the company’s trial and failure to initiate a cryptocurrency which could be used to send money online to any person in the world through Facebook products, according to a report from CNBC.

David Marcus joined Meta, which was formerly referred to as Facebook in August 2014 after serving as the President of Paypal for two years. His initial role at Facebook then was as the Vice President in charge of the social media company’s Messenger service. He then went ahead to leave the Messenger division, launching Facebook’s financial projects unit in May 2018.

The financial projects division announced the company’s Libra blockchain currency, as well as the company’s Calibra digital wallet in June 2019. It proceeded to say that the company held hope that both announced projects would be able to go live in 2020.

However, neither of the two projects was able to go live in 2020 as Facebook went on battling very firm backlash against its cryptocurrency aspirations from lawmakers and regulators all over the world. The company then went ahead to release its own digital wallet which was renamed Novi in October. The digital currency has since been renamed Diem and is now run by an independent association but still remains unreleased to the general public.

In a tweet thread in which Marcus announced his departure, Marcus stated that there was still a lot to do right after the launch of Novi and his passion for change in payments and financial systems remained. He however stated that his “entrepreneurial DNA” had been pushing him for too long just for him to ignore it.

Marcus’s exit is not isolated, as other key executives who were at the forefront of Facebook’s ill luck in the blockchain left the company as well.

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WhatsApp to Introduce New Features

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WhatsApp Launches Payments in Brazil to Push it to Other Countries 2

WhatsApp may soon be introducing new features and the features are rumoured to be launching next year, Sky News has said.

According to the news platform, the first of the new features include Instagram Reels. Although, weeks back, WhatsApp watchers, WABetaInfo, had said that WhatsApp could one day feature Instagram Reels.

“It is thought that Reels would have a dedicated space on the WhatsApp app. This could be part of Meta’s plan to merge all the big social networking apps that it owns.” The WhatsApp watcher once said.

It is also believed that no time limit on the ‘delete for everyone’ button is one of the features that is expected to be added.

One common complaint about WhatsApp is that you only get a certain amount of time to delete a message in a chat for everyone. After 68 minutes and 16 seconds, your message will be there forever and you can only delete it for yourself. This is set to change very soon.

On the other hand, there are claims that WhatsApp is working on a logout feature. The feature would be in keeping with the multi-device update as you could log out on one device but remain logged in on another. This feature has been spotted and being tested in the beta version of WhatsApp, Sky News added.

The other feature is hiding from specific contacts. You can currently hide the time you were last on WhatsApp but you can not hide it from specific contacts.

The company is said to be changing this so when you go to change your “Last Seen” settings you will see an option for “My Contacts Except”.

We are still, however, waiting for an official statement from WhatsApp.

 

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