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Threads has now reached 90 million users within five days of launch.
Elon Musk isn’t having it though. The billionaire is threatening to sue Mark Zuckerberg and Meta for hiring Twitter employees—some of whom he fired without due process or severance, and mocked. According to Musk, the ex-Twitter engineers built Threads, but Zuckerberg has responded that no ex-Twitter employee was involved in building the new social media platform.
SA lawyers uses ChatGPT for case, and fail
History is repeating itself, and within a month too!
South African lawyers arguing a case at the regional court in Johannesburg were called out for using fake precedents generated by ChatGPT.
To sue or not to sue: According to Sunday Times, the unnamed lawyers were representing a woman who was suing the trustees of a company for defamation. While the company’s lawyers argued that trustees could not be sued for defamation, the plaintiff’s lawyers argued that South African courts had—in previous cases—judged that trustees could in fact be sued.
The judge then postponed the hearing for two months to allow the lawyers time to find the precedents they needed to prove their case. Unfortunately, the lawyers could not track down the case manually and instead asked ChatGPT for citations. While the citations were for real cases, they had nothing to do with defamation.
Image source: YungNolly
Careless not misleading: In the judgement against the plaintiff, Judge Chaitram called out the lawyers stating that they were, “simultaneously simply overzealous and careless.”
“The embarrassment associated with this incident is probably sufficient punishment for the plaintiff’s attorneys,” said Chaitram. ☠️
Big picture: This is the second case where lawyers have used ChatGPT to source for cases, and failed. In May this year, a US law firm was fined $5,000 after one of its lawyers used ChatGPT to cite bogus cases. It’s also one of the many cases where ChatGPT and similar services have provided false information to users.
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Medsaf lays off all full-time staff
In layoff news, Nigerian healthtech Medsaf has laid off all its full-time employees, about 30 employees.
Last week, sources confirmed to TechCabal that the startup, in March, made the layoff announcement via its chief operating officer Rotimi Lawal. Lawal informed staff that the company was experiencing funding gaps and other dismal payment issues in the operation of its business.
The company—which has raised $3.6 million total since its founding in 2017—has reportedly been facing financial difficulties since mid-2022, and this led to delays in staff and vendor payments.
Unpaid salaries and benefits: Several laid-off employees also confirmed that they hadn’t been paid salaries since December 2022, despite promises from the company that salaries arrears would be paid by April 2023.
In response, Medsaf’s CEO, Vivian Nwakah, blamed the situation on investors reneging on funding commitments. Nwakah also noted that staff had been asked “not to come to work in January…So many of the employees that you are speaking with hardly worked in January and are requesting salaries that are owed to them when they were not actively working for the company,” she said.
Vivian Nwakah, CEO of Medsaf. Image source: Seedstars
Sources also allege financial misappropriation by the company’s management citing a $100,000 project fee that never made it into the company‘s accounts.
Medsaf denies the story: A day after the report, CEO Nwakah took to LinkedIn to tag the report as “full of lies, misinformation and slander”. In the post, Nwakah shares a cease and desist letter to TechCabal where Medsaf—through its lawyers—demanded a retraction of the story, and an apology.
TechCabal, however, stands by its story. We have found no instances of material errors, misrepresentations, falsehoods, or malice in our article.
Airtel launches 5G in Kenya
Image source: Airtel
More Kenyans are getting 5G!
Last week, Airtel became the second telecom to launch 5G in the East African country, following Safaricom’s October 2022 launch.
Where is it launching? We don’t know yet, Airtel hasn’t specified. The telecom only mentioned that it has 370 5G sites spread across 16 counties. However, the service is expected to focus on customers in major areas and cities such as Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa, and Kisumu.
Ashish Malhotra, the managing director of Airtel Kenya, said, “Airtel 5G will revolutionise various sectors, such as smart cities, education, healthcare, agritech, transport systems, entertainment, and more, shaping the future of Kenya.”
Can anyone use it? Only if your device is 5G-capable. Airtel argues that customers will be moving in and out of 5G areas and will be well-served by 4G bundles, which can access 5G without issues. The telecom also announced 5G Wi-Fi routers and plans which it is offering to businesses and residential areas. Find the pricing here.
Zoom out: More telecoms are shooting to launch 5G in the country including the state-run telecom Telkom. The telecom, however, has been facing financial difficulties, leading to the telco’s failure to pay the American Tower Corporation (ATC) Ksh200 million for tower leasing.
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Unionising Africa’s digital labour
According to the International Labour Organization, there are almost 800 digital labour platforms across the world as of 2022 including ride-haling services and delivery platforms.
Over the past decade, digital labour platforms have experienced explosive growth globally, with the number of platforms increasing from 142 in 2010 to 777 in 2020. Ride-hailing services have seen the most significant growth among these platforms, expanding 16-fold during the same period.
Image source: TechCabal Insights
Ride-hailing platforms entered various African countries, with Nigeria and South Africa as leading markets, between 2014 and 2016, aiming to provide convenient and affordable transportation services. These platforms have successfully attracted over 25,000 drivers in Nigeria, and 60,000 drivers in SA.
However, the working conditions and status of ride-hailing drivers in Africa have become a contentious issue, leading to a growing trend and increasing number of drivers joining unions to advocate to protect and advance their interests in the ecosystem.
In response to the challenges around commission structure and classification of workers, ride-hailing drivers in Nigeria and other regions have organised themselves into unions. These unions aim to collectively bargain with the platforms, negotiate for better working conditions, and advocate for the recognition of drivers’ rights. This is also precedent in the UK where the battle has been in existence since 2016, with another major battlefront in California earlier this year.
In June 2023, a newly licensed trade union for ride-hailing drivers in Nigeria, Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers Of Nigeria (AUATWON), emerged despite pushbacks, promising to ensure fair compensation, improved working conditions, and representation for drivers in negotiations with the platforms.
In all, the rise of unions among ride-hailing drivers reflects the growing concerns and demands of the digital labour workforce. But the journey ahead is long and far from easy. As the unions gain momentum, it remains to be seen how ride-hailing platforms will navigate the evolving dynamics between drivers, unions, and their own business models. Balancing the interests of drivers and platform profitability will be a crucial challenge in shaping the future of the ride-hailing industry on the African continent.
The World Wide Web3
* Data as of 06:00 AM WAT, July 10, 2023.
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- The SaaS Accelerator Programme: Africa 2023 has opened applications for its accelerator programme to enable early startups in Africa to receive funding. Selected startups will receive up to $70,000 in funding. Apply by September 7.
- Wise Guys SaaS Accelerator Program is looking to help SaaS startups level up through tailored guidance and support from world-class mentors and experts. Apply before September 7.
- The AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Awards 2023 ($5,000 prize) is now open to applications from reporters doing work for independent news organisations around the world, with articles readily accessible to the public by subscription, newsstand sales or online access, with the submitted work available in English are eligible to Apply by August 1.
- If you are a young (no older than 24 years of age) and emerging photographer looking to embark on a career in the world of photojournalism, the Ian Parry Photojournalism Grant 2023 (up to £10,000) is open for Applications. Apply by August 31.
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