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Confusion As MTN Nigeria Disconnects Subscribers

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MTN Nigeria Risks Losing Millions Of Users, Here's Why

There was confusion among MTN Nigeria users on Saturday, October 9, 2021, as the network service provider disconnected them.

As at the time of filing this report, Newsrand correspondent gathered that the telco subscribers could not browse their internet, neither could they make or receive calls.

When our correspondent spoke to some of the users who experienced network outages, he learnt that MTN Nigeria did not inform them of anything that could lead to the development.

MTN Nigeria users lament

The sudden network blackout has led to serious lamentation from MTN Nigeria users, with many of them taken to social media to slam the telco giant.

While some of them lamented how the shutdown affected their bank transactions all through today, others stated that it affected their businesses in unexplainable ways.

Read some of their reactions below:

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Elon Musk and Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal Clash Over Bot-fighting Metrics

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We already know that Twitter is rife with bots. But how full is it, and what kinds of bots are there? With estimates ranging from Twitter’s own “under 5%” to independent researchers claiming 20% or higher, it’s clear that it’s a difficult number to pin down, as the company’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, explained in a thread today. Elon Musk, a potential buyer, responded with a poo emoji.

Agrawal stated that spam and bots are serious issues that all social media platforms face, and that they are also evolving and “dynamic.” “Our adversaries, their goals, and tactics are constantly evolving — frequently in response to our work!” You can’t create a set of spam-detection rules today and hope they’ll still work tomorrow.”

The problem of determining whether an account is automated, semi-human, benign, violating, and so on is not trivial, yet millions of accounts are actioned in some way, and, as with other platforms, usually before they do anything.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Topship Raises $2.5 Million in Funding from Flexport and YC to Assist Merchants With International Shipping.

One reason it’s difficult to tell whether an account is “real” or not, depending on what definition of “real” you use, is that there’s only so much information available publicly. According to Agrawal, “the use of private data is especially important to avoid misclassifying users who are actually real.” FirstnameBunchOfNumbers with no profile pic and odd tweets may appear to be a bot or spam to you, but we often see multiple indicators that it’s a real person behind the scenes.”

By “private data,” he most likely means things like direct message activity, logins, and browsing behavior that are invisible to outsiders but visible to internal systems. Many Twitter users interact with the platform in a quiet manner, and who can blame them?

This is advantageous for Twitter because no one can verify the numbers it publishes. Though there is little reason to believe the company is outright fabricating or doctoring the numbers here, it is undeniable that they have the motive and opportunity to do so in subtle ways that would only be visible to an auditor who has access to the same data as they do.

The issue of user authenticity, of course, is central to a social media platform’s reach and ability to monetize, and we’ve seen time and again that falsifying or misrepresenting these numbers can have serious consequences for advertisers and premium service subscribers’ willingness to pay.

Or, as billionaire and Twitter hopeful Elon Musk put it: “💩”

“So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money?” he asks. This is critical to Twitter’s financial health,” is perplexing. As someone ostensibly interested in starting a social media company, it’s difficult to believe he wouldn’t have done some basic research on the metrics that the industry uses to track these things. After all, as Agrawal points out, these figures have been reported on a regular basis for quite some time.

It’s not that the question is bad; it’s just odd that he would ask it now, after making a very risky buyout offer for the business — a business of which he appears to be unfamiliar with the fundamentals. Companies that monetize engagement, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat, have been defining and redefining “how advertisers know what they’re getting for their money” for over a decade.

Of course, there has long been a famous disconnect between advertising and results — the old “half works and half doesn’t, but no one knows which half is which” conundrum.

The most pressing question here does not appear to be, “How do we know engagement is genuine?” but rather, why has Elon Musk only recently begun investigating this? It’s akin to purchasing a horse and then looking up the word “horse” in the dictionary. The apparent lack of familiarity not only with the complexities of Twitter, but also with the way the social media ad market and authenticity metrics are defined and handled in general will undoubtedly add to the concerns of those who believe Musk is not the best person to lead the company.

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Nigeria’s Topship Raises $2.5 Million in Funding from Flexport and YC to Assist Merchants With International Shipping.

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When it comes to international shipping, African merchants face numerous challenges, ranging from logistics and customs to hidden and excessive charges.

To address these supply chain issues, the continent’s digital freight forwarders have grown. In some ways, they resemble Flexport, a $8 billion company and market leader in the freight space; some have dubbed themselves the “Flexport for Africa.”

Topship, a recent YC graduate, is one such startup that has raised a $2.5 million seed round months after finishing the most recent YC winter batch. Flexport is the company’s primary investor. Y Combinator, Soma Capital, Starling Ventures, Olive Tree Capital, Capital X, and True Capital are among the other investors. Individual investors in the round include Mercury CEO Immad Akhund and Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi.

Topship was founded in 2020, during the pandemic, after co-founder and CEO Moses Enenwali noticed an increase in merchants’ needs for shipping parcels and cargo outside of Nigeria. Following his time with logistics company ACE Logistics and e-commerce fulfilment provider Sendbox, he had developed relationships with these merchants. Despite the fact that demand was consistent during his time with both companies from 2015 to 2020.

“The world was closing down, but there was this high demand for things, and demand for international shipping was increasing at the same time.” “This is interesting,” I thought. “It wasn’t a business back then because we just helped these people move stuff like a scrappy, little hustle,” Enenwali explained.

Topship CEO Moses Enenwali

Globally, approximately 60% of air cargo is flown in the belly hold of passenger flights, which is one reason why, to some extent, air shipping businesses are easier to start than sea shipping businesses. It made even more sense for Enenwali to take this route because passenger planes flew half empty for the majority of 2020. Topship went live in March 2021 after months of iteration, with Junaid Babatunde as CTO.

Topship claims to want to make it as simple as possible for African businesses to export and import parcels and cargo to their customers, suppliers, and distributors around the world. The company, along with competitors like Sote, SEND, and OnePort365, aims to improve the overall shipping experience in Africa. Topship, on the other hand, has high expectations; the company stated in a statement that “its mission is to make the shipping experience in Africa as easy and stress-free as booking an Uber ride.” And one factor that may work in its favor is its emphasis on air cargo, even as others investigate the Flexport-pioneered combination of air, sea, and truck haulage.

While African startups, including his, have taken some cues from Flexport’s playbook, CEO Enenwali believes Africa isn’t ready for the unicorn’s model, which is heavily reliant on sea cargo movement.

“The Flexport model would not work here because it is heavily invested in ocean freight and there aren’t enough ports on the continent.” For example, in Nigeria, we only have one function port, and in order for ocean freight to work, we need ports, railways, and trucking roads. “But we don’t have roads, and we don’t have railways,” said the CEO, explaining why Topship does not handle sea cargo.

“Connecting the continent with ocean freight is difficult.” Even with their aggressive approach to problems, Flexport’s business model makes a lot of sense. However, for Africa, we must modify it to fit the local use case. As we’ve seen, the only way to connect the continent is by air. Every country and major city on the continent has an airport, and airlines fly to all of them on a daily basis.”

Topship serves a diverse range of users. Topship is a borderline local and international shipping solution between digital freight and e-commerce fulfilment, from a merchant moving tons of heavy equipment and a solo entrepreneur sending parcels to a student mailing documents to a school abroad and a Gen Z shopping from a foreign store. Flexport has invested in several African startups in both categories, including Trella, Flextock, ShipBlu, Sendbox, and Freeterium.

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EA Sports Ends Over Two-Decade-Long Partnership With FIFA

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On Tuesday, Electronic Arts Inc announced the official end of its nearly three-decade-long video-gaming partnership with FIFA.

The move comes after months of tense negotiations in which FIFA officials reportedly demanded $1 billion from the company for its licensing rights.

According to the New York Times, their 29-year partnership was set to end after this year’s World Cup in Qatar, but has now been extended to include the Women’s World Cup next summer.

READ ALSO: Trump’s Twitter Ban Lawsuit Dismissed by Judge

EA CEO Andrew Wilson has promised that the final game will be the best yet.

After that, the video game company plans to launch EA Sports FC in 2023, an interactive form of gaming in collaboration with more than 300 soccer partners.

Because of separate licensing agreements with their teams and leagues, the new game is expected to feel similar to the millions of FIFA video game players around the world.

According to the BBC, it will likely allow players to watch real-life matches, participate in Fortnite-like in-game events, and access a wider range of branded in-game items.

However, major FIFA events such as the World Cup will be excluded.

‘The worlds of football and entertainment are changing, and they collide within our product,’ said David Jackson, vice president of EA Sports.

‘In the future, our players will expect us to be more expansive in that offering.’ We currently engage in play as our primary form of interactive experience.

‘Watching and creating content will soon be equally important for fans.’

‘Under the licensing conventions that we had agreed with FIFA ten years ago, there were some restrictions that would not allow us to build those experiences for players,’ he explained.

Nonetheless, EA shares fell nearly 3% in afternoon trading following the news, despite the fact that the company is expected to report its quarterly results after markets close on Tuesday.

Soccer games have long been a favorite among millions of players worldwide, attracting both casual gamers and esports fans. Over the last two decades, the game has sold more than $20 billion.

However, as FIFA and EA’s most recent agreement – signed ten years ago – was about to expire, FIFA officials demanded more from the video game company, according to the Times.

It aimed to at least double the $150 million it receives each year from EA Sports, its largest commercial partner.

‘They have all the technological smarts, the creative implementation of an absolutely fantastic football game – and it really is fantastic.’

‘But what about FIFA? Their given name. ‘What happens next?’
EA has already signed up 19,000 athletes, 700 teams, 100 stadiums, and more than 30 leagues for future games.

It has over 300 licensing agreements with world soccer organizations such as UEFA, which runs the Champions League, as well as domestic leagues and competitions worldwide.

These collaborations will allow EA to continue using the names and likenesses of not only players, but also famous clubs and prominent players.

According to the Times, if FIFA seeks another video game partner, they will be limited in their options because two of the world’s largest club competitions – England’s Premier League and European soccer’s elite Champions League – will only be available to EA Sports FC players.

‘EA Sports is a long-term and valued partner of the Premier League, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate in the new era,’ said Richard Masters, the Premier League’s chief executive, in a statement announcing the split.

It also included remarks from officials representing Europe’s and South America’s governing bodies, as well as the heads of the German and Spanish Leagues.

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