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Good morning ☀️

Soon, you may be able to control your phone or any device just by thinking about it…and it’s all thanks to Elon Musk. 

Yesterday, the billionaire announced that human trials for Neuralink’s first product, Telepathy, have begun and the first human test subject is recovering quite nicely and already showing promising signs. Musk says the initial users will be amputees. 

As Twitter sputters under his watch, one question hangs heavy: will Neuralink receive the focus it needs to navigate the ethical and technical minefield ahead?

Regulation

NDPC reports 17 data breach cases being investigated

The Nigerian Data Protection Commission (NDPC)—Nigeria’s data regulatory agency—had a busy 2023. In June 2023, it began investigating Zenith, GTB, Fidelity, Leadway Insurance and Babcock University for data breaches. By October 2023, it extended its focus to Opay, DHL and Meta.

According to the NDPC commissioner, Dr Vincent Olatunji, the commission has gotten over 1,000 complaints, and after careful examination, 50 have been verified with 17 cases actively being investigated.

What could get a company fined? The Nigeria data protection framework empowers NDPC and NITDA to fine entities violating the Act, with penalties directly linked to the severity of data protection breaches. Fines range from ₦2million ($2,100) to ₦10 million ($11,000), or 2% of the company’s annual gross revenue of the preceding year and are imposed for violations like neglecting compliance, mishandling breaches, or obstructing investigations. 

According to one report, Nigeria ranks as the 32nd most breached country in the first quarter of 2023, with 82,000 leaked accounts from January to March 2023, representing a 64% increase from the previous quarter.

It’s doing its job: The NDPC’s moves are also translating to increased revenue and compliance. The commission has also earned over ₦400 million ($444,197) in revenue and according to Olatunji, more companies—from 103 to 163—are now embracing data privacy standards thanks to the NDPC’s targeted awareness campaigns and capacity-building initiatives.

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Streaming

DStv retains rights to WWE

Multichoice is back in the ring!

Remember last week when Netflix inked a $5 billion deal to become the new home to WWE’s Monday night wrestling show? DStv announced today that it’s retaining the right to stream WWE events in Africa.

Multichoice makes a comeback: The Netflix deal, spanning 10 years, throws all WWE content—SmackDown, NXT, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Royal Rumble, WWE documentaries, and original series—on the streamer. Per MyBroadBand, the Netflix deal will not affect MultiChoice’s contract with the WWE.

How so? The Netflix deal only covers specific territories, US, Canada, Latin America, excluding South Africa and other African countries where DStv holds the rights. This allows DStv’s existing contract to remain valid in its geographical region.

Yes, and: The move could also push more subscribers to DStv as some of Netflix’s 1.2 million African users who looked forward to streaming WWE will now have to find another alternative.

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Startups

Chaka’s CEO exits five months after Risevest merger

Tosin Osibodu, the founder of Chaka—a digital trading startup—has departed the Nigerian startup five months after its acquisition by Risevest. 

Osibodu is now the Executive Director of Sales for Alpaca, a company working on trading stocks and crypto. Meanwhile, Eke Urum, the founder of Risevest—a Nigerian digital asset manager—is now the main CEO of the combined companies—Chaka and Risevest.

ICYMI: TechCabal exclusively reported in September 2023, that Risevest fully acquired Chaka in a deal that saw Chaka and Risevest remain separate products. With Osibodu exiting Chaka after the merger, it is unclear if both companies will remain separate in the merger. However, even though Osibodu left Chaka, he’s still part of the team as a shareholder and advisor.

Osibodu will work to deepen Alpaca’s footprint in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. The firm currently powers over 130+ investing services for neobanks and wealthtechs. In October 2023, Alpaca secured $15 million in funding from Japanese financial conglomerate SBI to help Alpaca expand its business in Asia.

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Funding

Nigerian startup Miden, selected for YC winter 2024 batch

At a time when Y Combinator which has backed over a hundred African startups like Flutterwave and Stripe is scaling back investments from Africa, Miden—a startup that simplifies business payments with instant virtual cards (USD & Naira)—has made it into the YC winter 2024 batch.

Miden joining the batch comes after Cleva, a cross-border payment service was also selected for the W2024 batch. A Kenyan travel startup is reportedly the third African startup in the batch.

A significant decline in African startups: After YC’s winter 2022 batch which comprised of 24 African startups, fewer African startups have been accepted into the global accelerator. Its Summer 2022 batch had just eight African startups, a 63% decline from the previous cohort.

It seems YC is now backing a maximum of three African startups, a change likely implemented since the 2023 winter batch which saw the accelerator welcome only three African startups—Vault Pay (DRC Congo), ChowCentral (Nigeria), and Eden Care (Rwanda).

This isn’t YC’s first foray into supporting African fintech innovation. The 2022 winter batch saw promising startups like Grey (Nigeria), Bloom (Sudan), Plumter (Nigeria), Nash (Kenya), and Lenco (Nigeria) gain their backing.

Big Tech

Inside Musk’s new Trust and Safety Centre

X is planning to curtail hate speech with a new 100-man army. 

The news: Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) unveiled a new “Trust and Safety Centre” in Austin, Texas, to help enforce its content and safety rules. The company says it will employ 100 full-time content moderators.

Zoom in: Before Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the platform was rife with automated accounts spewing hate, misinformation, and harassment. However, it’s been two years since the vocal critic of content moderation’s takeover and things are yet to change. While Musk claims the company has eliminated at least 90% of “scams and spam”, data scientists say fake and spam accounts remain in abundance.

The uptick in hate speech on the app was partly due to the freezing of content moderation tools for most of its trust and safety team, after Musk’s takeover. Per Bloomberg, only 15 people had access to tools that enable them to remove posts, a function that was previously accessible by hundreds of the trust and safety team.

Not enough men: The unveiling of the new trust and safety centre might sound promising. But a critical look at the move shows that it might be underwhelming. 

While the proposed 100 team sounds impressive, it pales in comparison to the platform’s estimated 450 million active users. Can such a small force tackle the hydra-headed monster of online toxicity? 

Moreover, hiring content moderators without addressing the rampant bot problem is like putting duct tape on a sinking ship. Bots amplify hate and manipulate conversations, making human moderators’ jobs nearly impossible. Until X tackles the bot issue head-on, any “Trust and Safety Center” feels like a band-aid on a bullet wound.

Furthermore, critics rightly point out Musk’s erratic online behaviour. His penchant for inflammatory tweets and veiled threats undermines any claims of neutrality in content moderation. Who polices the policeman, then?

It remains to be seen whether the move is a genuine turn of heart or a PR stunt to appease advertisers and regulators.

Crypto Tracker

The World Wide Web3

Source:

OneLiquidity  logo

Coin Name

Current Value

Day

Month

Bitcoin $41,992

+ 2.89%

+ 3.26%

Ether $2,309

+ 1.89%

+ 0.20%

Manta Network

$3.64

+ 1.36%

+ 60.32%

Solana $103.24

+ 6.31%

+ 2.54%

* Data as of 05:46 PM WAT, January 30, 2024.

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Opportunities

  • Applications are open for the Lagos Innovates x Firstfounders Idea Hub 8.0! a springboard to build a competitive, profitable and game-changing startup. There will be 8 weeks of transformative mentorship, tried-and-tested growth templates, exceptional masterclasses and unparalleled networking opportunities. Apply here.
  • Goethe Institute Studio Quantum has opened applications for its new residency programme in Germany for artists from Nigeria. Throughout the residency, artists will receive invitations to travel to various locations, where they can integrate quantum technologies into the thematic content of their work. These artists are encouraged to create pieces utilising quantum technologies accessed through the cloud. Apply by February 11.
  • Gen F, an initiative facilitated by Founders Factory is set to invest in startups from Africa through its Entrepreneur in Residence program. Selected startups will receive a $250,000 seed funding injection upon successful pitching. Apply here.

Written by: Faith Omoniyi & Mariam Muhammad

Edited by: Timi Odueso

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