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YouTube Celebrates 2023 Black Voices Fund Grantees



, SiliconNigeria

YouTube today reaffirmed its commitment to amplify Black voices in Africa with a two-day event in Nairobi, Kenya to celebrate the 2023 #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund grantees and allow them to connect, network and collaborate with other creators.

Over 100 Black creators from around the world took part in the celebrations in Kenya, which also highlighted the impact that the YouTube Black Voices Fund has had since its launch. Created in 2020 with the purpose of investing in talent and presenting fresh narratives that emphasise the intellectual power and authenticity of Black voices, the programme has helped over 500 creators and artists grow their channels and their audiences. 

The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund has been an opportunity to both celebrate and cultivate Black artistry around the world and forms part of the platform’s commitment to supporting Africa’s creative ecosystem. YouTube plays an essential role in the discovery and development of African culture and the fund takes this a step further by equipping up-and-coming Black creators, artists, songwriters and producers with the resources to succeed on its platform.

“When we announced the $100 million fund to amplify Black and African voices and perspectives on our platform, we wanted to create a space where Black people can share their own stories, in their own voices, with the world. The fund has, in many ways, created opportunities to amplify, celebrate and cultivate Black artistry for a global audience, ” says YouTube Managing Director of Emerging Markets, EMEA, Alex Okosi. 

“Being a part of the BVF programme Class of 2023 has literally changed my life. I moved from creating content in a room that I used to share with my sister, to getting my own space. I was also able to get better filming equipment like ring lights and tripods, I needed to increase the quality of my videos,” says Nigerian creator Osereme Egbor of Styleby Reme.

In addition to funding, creators also received one-on-one mentorship and classes on how to grow their revenue.

Kenyan creator Wongel Zelalem said the classes were very helpful adding, “I was given a strategic manager who was dedicated to helping me and giving me solutions to my problems. That was something that I didn’t know I needed in my life”.

South African creator Thato Rampedi says “YouTube Black has taught me a whole lot of things about how to be a really good creator”.

The growth of these creator channels has been tangible on the continent. YouTube data as of December 2022 shows that in South Africa, the number of YouTube channels making 100k or more in revenue (ZAR) has increased by over 30 percent year on year . In Nigeria, the percentage of YouTube channels making 100k or more in revenue (NGN) increased by over 15 percent, year on year; while in Kenya, the number of YouTube channels making 100k or more in revenue (KES) has increased by over 25 percent. 

In addition,  in Nigeria, over 45 channels have more than 1 million subscribers, an increase of more than 50 percent, year on year. In South Africa, 25 channels reached the 1 million subscriber mark , an increase of over 30 percent, year on year, while in Kenya, over 14 channels have more than 1 million subscribers, an increase of more than 110 percent.

Beyond the Black Voices Fund, YouTube is committed to continuing to prioritise and centre Black creators, artists and content through programs, initiatives and improvements to the platform.

“We’re committed to ensuring that Black creators from Africa and around the world find a home on YouTube, and we are investing in strategic partnerships with culturally relevant organisations to ensure that we are able to reach and help even more creators and artists,” Okosi says.

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PREMIUM TIMES Books Unveils New Title on Cyber Politics, Nigerian Elections



, SiliconNigeria

 Premium Times Books, the book publishing arm of the Premium Times Group, is pleased to announce the release of a new title, Cyber Politics: Social Media, Social Demography and Voting Behaviour in Nigeria.

The book, written by Omoniyi P. Ibietan, is officially making its way to physical and online bookshop Monday morning in a unique alignment with the symbolic rituals of June 12, Nigeria’s Democracy Day.

In 460 pages spread over 12 chapters, Cyber Politics: Social Media, Social Demography and Voting Behaviour in Nigeria gives expression to a critical phase within the distinct trajectory of Nigerian democracy through its elections.

Like June 12, which created a watershed in the country as Nigerians sought to rupture the yoke of military rule through the ballot, this book by Omoniyi P. Ibietan engages with another national watershed moment, as the nascent digital culture involving Internet use, and particularly the social media, converges with the articulation of voter choice, ultimately impacting Nigeria’s electoral fortunes in the process.

Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election is utilised as the sounding board from which analyses that offer great insights into the future of voting behaviour in the country are made in this new title, that is both skilful in its rendition and ground-cutting in its intellectual approach.

In an Introduction he wrote for the book, Dapo Olorunyomi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Premium Times Group, said “The universe of this new book is intriguing in its exploration of the “digital effect on elections.”

He also pointed out how Mr Ibietan’s work demonstrates “clearly that social media systems do enrich electoral democracy by expanding access to registration, participation, voting and organising at a scale we have never contemplated.”

He further observed that, “In the context of the Nigerian market framework, we also get to appreciate, through his lenses, the comparative appeal of each of the social channels. WhatsApp is the battle axe, while Twitter, hysterical though it is, remains limited.” Also, “Ibietan demonstrates how Facebook appeals to age and its abstract commitment to attention and community makes its credentials for advancing democracy a suspect.”

Equally, in his Foreword to the book, Umar Danbatta, a professor and executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, noted that: “the author situates the historical context of Nigerian politics and democracy” and more so “…the nexus between social media and voting behaviour, and the influence of the social media ecosystem among others in the electoral process.”

Importantly, as Professor Danbatta put it: “The book is a compelling narrative, a scholar’s guide and companion on the various political communication themes it interprets. It is difficult to put down this work once you are drawn by its alluring and free-flowing prose and incisive analysis.”

For a prominent commentator, who is also a former Minister of Information and Communication in Nigeria, Frank Nweke II, “the book represents an uncommon body of work by an intellectual visionary”, and he is of the conviction that the “extrapolation of the lessons and recommendations of this book will find perfect expression in other climes beyond the 2015 Nigerian general elections scenario.” Nweke thus commends “Dr Ibietan for this remarkable work, and…recommend(s) this book for practitioners and academics in the fields of strategic communications, new technologies, and social change.”

The author of this new book, Omoniyi P. Ibietan, holds a doctorate in Political Communication from North-West University in South Africa, and earlier degrees in Communication Arts from the Universities of Uyo and Ibadan.

With a career spanning journalism, stints in the civil society and academia, he is presently a directorate cadre staff in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), where he heads the media relations management unit.

Over the past two decades, Mr Ibietan has researched deeply in the emergent interface between communication studies and psephology, which explains his richly nuanced understanding and far sight into issues involved.

Cyber Politics: Social Media, Social Demography and Voting Behaviour in Nigeria is available as physical copies both in the hard back and soft back versions in bookstores across the country from today, 12 June. The electronic copies of the book can also be purchased on online platforms, including Amazon.

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Twitter Mulls Crypto Trading via eToro



, SiliconNigeria

Elon Musk’s ambition to turn Twitter into a financial super app is advancing with the roll out of a feature that will let its users access stocks, cryptocurrencies and other financial assets through a partnership with eToro.

Currently, it’s already possible to view real-time trading data from TradingView through Twitter’s “cashtags” feature, wherein a search for trading symbols throws up the dollar price of stocks via an API.

With the eToro partnership, Twitter cashtags will be expanded to cover far more instruments and asset classes, and provide access to a trading platform where users can buy and sell shares, an eToro spokesperson told CNBC.

“As we’ve grown over the past three years immensely, we’ve seen more and more of our users interact on Twitter [and] educate themselves about the markets,” Yoni Assia, eToro’s CEO, told CNBC in an interview. “There is very high quality content, real-time content on financial analysis of companies and what’s happening around the world. We believe this partnership will enable us to reach those new audiences [and] connect better the brands of Twitter and eToro.”

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NCC Not Regulator Of Social Media Contents-Spokesman



, SiliconNigeria

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it is not the regulator of the contents of the social media networks that many stakeholders have complained about. 

The submission came during a recent visit of the National Civil Society Council of Nigeria (NCSCN), led by its Executive Secretary, Blessing Akinsolotu, who sought the intervention of the Commission on the worrisome and misleading content of social media platforms. 

“We know that NCC, as the regulator of the telecoms industry, has greater role to play in helping to curb the spread of fake news and incendiary contents that Internet users put on social media platforms. Therefore, we want NCC to partner with us in this regard,” he stated.

Akinlosotu said the situation demands immediate intervention of key stakeholders to ensure that the content of the social media and the Internet are credible and enhance national social cohesion.

Director, Public Affairs of the Commission, Mr. Reuben Muoka, who received the group on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, informed the organization that Commission’s mandate does not extend to controlling the content of such media platforms. 

According to Muoka, the major role of the telecom regulator is to facilitate the deployment of telecom infrastructure that provides different types of telecommunications services, including improving broadband that enhances robust Internet experience, and ensuring fair competition as well as the protecting of telecom consumers. 

Muoka said the mandate includes making services available, accessible and affordable for Nigerians who may leverage such access to engage in digital social mediation for the benefit of the individual, businesses, and the nation’s socioeconomic growth. 

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