* Data as of 05:50 AM WAT, November 4, 2022.
NIGERIA APPROVES SOCIAL MEDIA REGULATORY POLICY
Nigerians may be celebrating the signing of the Nigeria Startup Bill into law, but another regulatory policy that threatens online freedom has been signed into law.
In June, Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) announced that it had developed the draft Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries.
Now, the Code has been approved by Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy Isa Pantami as part of the practices of NITDA.
What’s the Code about?
According to the NITDA Head of Corporate Affairs and External Relationships, Hadiza Umar, the Code is supposedly aimed at “protecting the fundamental human rights of Nigerians and non-Nigerians living in the country, as well as defining guidelines for interacting on the digital ecosystem”.
The Code instructs that all Interactive Computer Service Platforms with more than 100,000 users would be required to fulfil certain conditions in order to operate in the country. This includes US-based social media platforms and indigenous sites like Nairaland.
All these platforms would have to be registered to operate in Nigeria, pay tax, appoint country representatives, and more notably, “provide information to the Nigerian government on harmful accounts, troll groups, and deleting all information that violates Nigerian law”.
There are beneficial provisions of the Code which stay true to its proposed mission. The Code prohibits the distribution of revenge porn and child sexual assault materials (CSAM).
However, it seeks to control what kind of information Nigerians can post about on and offline. Part IV of the code, for example, prescribes that all content that is contrary to morality, or public interest should be deleted once a complaint is made. This brings to light the possibility of the Nigerian government going after citizens who post “blasphemous” materials since blasphemy is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment in many Nigerian states.
The Code outlines 5 classes of information highlighted: misinformation, disinformation, harmful content, unlawful content, and prohibited materials—ambiguous classes that are not criminalised under Nigerian law.
Zoom out: NITDA is yet to announce when the Code will come into effect, so stakeholders still have a chance to share feedback. Uganda also enacted a similar law a few weeks ago prescribing fines and imprisonment for online personalities who post harmful content.
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NETFLIX LAUNCHES ITS AD-TIER SUBSCRIPTION
Ads have finally come to Netflix.
Starting yesterday, Netflix users can opt-in for a cheaper ad-supported plan that makes them eligible for movie interruptions and marketing strategies.
The streaming giant now charges $7 a month for basic ad-tier subscribers in the US, a decent reduction from its standard plans costing between $10 and $20.
This feature is yet to roll out on a global scale; Netflix Nigeria hasn’t made any changes to its existing pricing models.
Netflix once said no to ads
Until recent years, Netflix was never pro-ads. Even when competitors like Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max introduced ad plans and strengthened their subscriber base, Nextflix co-CEO, Reed Hastings, was clear on his pledge not to bring ads to Netflix. “There’s no easy money there,” he once said.
However, in the wake of failing stock prices and huge subscriber losses, which resulted in Netflix’s stock price plummeting by 66% from its 2021 peak and a million lost subscribers, the streaming giant had to rethink its strategies, and Hastings, somehow, became more comfortable with ads.
But will these ads really work?
Ads are a major revenue stream for Meta and are currently the lifeline of Twitter’s revenue.
Last month, Uber announced its decision to take the ad road. The ride-hailing company is currently planning to monetise its 120m+ active users.
From these, the trend is clear: ads are the future, and Netflix is betting on them.
MTN PARTNERS WITH SANLAM
The MTN Group and Sanlam, one of the largest non-bank financial services providers on the continent, have announced a partnership to bring insurance across Africa. Africa has one of the lowest insurance penetration rates in the world—less than 3%.
The partnership will be implemented using MTN Group’s insurtech platform, aYo, which will serve as the vehicle for the partnership to take effect. The platform will be shared equally by MTN and Sanlam.
Why this is important
This move will enable MTN customers to pay for insurance with airtime or mobile money using a pay-as-you-go model. The partnership will also develop digital insurance and investment options to increase the accessibility of Sanlam’s products to people in Africa.
Speaking on the partnership, Ralph Mupita, MTN’s president and CEO, said, “We are confident that this alliance will build and leverage the strengths and assets of both companies to establish a digital insurance and investment capability across Africa.”
Sanlam Group CEO, Paul Hanratty, said, “We are delighted to reach such a critical stage in our drive to deepen penetration of insurance and investment products across Africa through strategic partnerships. Sanlam believes that this strategic alliance with the MTN Group will make a considerable contribution to financial inclusion in Africa.”
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TC INSIGHTS: FUNDING TRACKER
This week, Egyptian fintech MoneyFellows raised $31 million in series B funding. The round was led by CommerzVentures, Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP), and Arzan Venture Capital. Other participating investors include Invenfin, National Investment Company (NIC) and existing investors such as Partech, Sawari Ventures, 4DX Ventures, and P1 Ventures.
Here are the other deals this week:
- Nigerian prop-tech company, SmallSmall raised $3 million in seed funding from Oyster VC, Asymmetry Ventures, Vivaz and Niche Capital and other individual angel investors such as Ean Fannan of Chartboost, Adam Meghji of Universe, Jimmy Ku of Flutterwave, Samir Goel and Wemimo Abbey of Esusu, Jason Njoku of Iroko and Tunde Kara of Vendease.
- South- Africa’s privacy-by-design company Omnisient raised an undisclosed amount of funding in a round led by Buffet Investments and KLT. Other participating investors include One5, ENL, Investec, Nedbank, and the Shoprite Group.
That’s it for this week!
Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more funding announcements.
EVENT: ECOBANK FINTECH BREAKFAST SERIES
Today at 8:30 AM WAT, Ecobank in partnership with TechCabal will host the second edition of its Fintech Breakfast series.
We’ll be discussing with:
- Tosin Iyayi – Partner, Aluko & Oyebode
- Yemi Keri – Co-founder, Rising Tide Africa
- Yele Oyekola – Co-founder & CEO, Duplo
- Lexi Novitske – General Partner, Norrsken22
- Chinedu Onuoha – Managing Director at Mzuri Solutions Limited.
Over 2000 people have registered for this event ranging from fintechs to bank executives, investors, innovators, policymakers and everyone who’s curious about tech in Africa. If you belong to any of these categories, this is an event you should not miss.
To join the event virtually, save a seat here!
You can also join the event via YouTube here.
This event is brought to you by Ecobank Nigeria in partnership with TechCabal.
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