African-targeted social media platform Bebuzee is working on expanding its content offerings after garnering 16 million users across the continent.
Developed by UK-based, Nigerian-born innovator and entrepreneur Joseph Onyero in 2012, Bebuzee says its vision is to change the landscape of social media, by offering users a variety of products that go beyond the usual functions offered by other social media platforms.
As well as providing a platform that allows users to perform standard functions such as adding photos, videos and writing blogs, Bebuzee says its free video content service offers users a variety of African-focused content across genres such as movies, documentaries, series and talk shows which have not been posted anywhere else.
The social media platform has partnerships with over 50 Nollywood producers who grant it exclusive rights for users to view newly launched content for a limited period of time before it launches publicly.
As one of the fastest-growing social media platforms globally, Bebuzee says it is engaging production companies from other countries, including SA, to create an ecosystem of entertainment content providers to create localised exclusive videos which are longer and more in-depth than YouTube videos.
“Bebuzee is one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world at the moment. Our 16 million users are predominantly based in Nigeria, SA, Uganda and Kenya, while the rest of the countries all make up a smaller percentage,” explains Onyero, who is also CEO of Bebuzee.
“Our vision is to become a premiere supplier of entertainment and information on the continent, and service users with their favourite content at no cost. When adding professionally-produced videos, we obtain a set target audience and a marketing platform. We are now expanding our server capacity dramatically, as we plan on adding country-specific content to increase the attractiveness of our offerings.”
The contractual agreement signed with production companies provides for a fixed advance and fixed royalty split for producers, based on advertising revenues received by Bebuzee, he adds.
Bebuzee has six employees, with offices in the UK, US, Ireland and Malta. The company is in the process of adding more employees and offices in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.
In 2005, Onyero created features and digital components of what was later to become the Bebuzee suite of products, including online features for Bebuzee’s property-focused subsidiary Properbuz – an online-based real estate start-up.
In May 2012, he started building Bebuzee and Properbuz for commercial use, using his knowledge and components developed during the previous years, and running proof-of-concept models.
Bebuzee says while its content offerings have generated huge interest from users, including some in the US and UK, it is currently not at profit-making stage.
“Revenues are small at the present time, as we deliberately did not initially include advertising on the platform in order to focus on growing our user-base and the infrastructure.
As we embark on further expansion, we believe our new offerings will expose us to well over 100 million users when completely rolled out at the end of this year – and turn it into a viable profit-generating vehicle,” states Onyero.
As the company eyes 100 million users in the next few months, it is considering integrating the social media platform with its real estate business, as it plans an initial public offering in the near future.
Supporting Elections Across Africa
By AKUA GYEKYE, Public Policy Manager, Africa Elections, Facebook
Our work in supporting elections across Africa continues to be a priority and we’ve dedicated unprecedented resources to these efforts both locally and globally, with protecting election integrity at the center of this work. This update provides an overview of our ongoing work in reducing misinformation and removing voter suppression, preventing election interference, supporting civic engagement and increasing transparency in political advertising.
Here’s what you need to know about some of the steps we’re taking:
Combating Misinformation and False News
We’re working hard to fight the spread of misinformation on our services because we know that people want to see accurate information on Facebook and Instagram – and so do we. Our updated policies allow us to remove misinformation which could lead to imminent violence or physical harm, and also remove misinformation which could prevent people from voting, such as false news related to the dates, location, time, and voting methods. Over the past year we’ve expanded our work with independent fact-checking organisations across Africa to review and rate the accuracy of content shared on Facebook and Instagram. We work with organisations such as Dubawa, Africa Check, Pesa Check, AFP, Congo Check and France 24 – all of which are certified by the International Fact Checking Network. The program now covers 18 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and also supports local languages such as Swahili, Wolof, Igbo, Yoruba, Zulu and Setswana.
Boosting Digital Literacy and Helping People Spot False News
We want to make sure people can spot false news and know how to alert us about it. That’s why we continue to run campaigns focused on providing educational tips on how to spot false news like ‘Three Questions To Help Stamp Out False News’. These campaigns are supported in local languages and run across both local radio and on Facebook. We are also continuing to run education ads focused on hate speech, how it’s defined and actions users can take.
Making Political Ads More Transparent
We believe political discussion and debate should be transparent to every voter, which is why over the past few years we’ve introduced tools that provide more information about political ads on Facebook and Instagram. Since launching our political ads transparency tool in 2019, we’ve expanded this to cover a number of countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. We encourage anybody who wants to run ads about elections or politics to go through a verification process to prove who they are and that they live in the country they are targeting, and in a growing number of countries across Sub-Saharan Africa we have made this process mandatory. We run additional checks to ensure compliance with our policies, and every political ad is labelled with a “paid by” disclaimer so you can see who paid for them. We also store all political ads in our Ads Library so that everyone can see what ads are running, who saw the ads and how much was spent. These changes mean that political advertising on Facebook and Instagram is now more transparent than other forms of election campaigning such as billboards, newspaper ads, direct mail, leaflets or targeted emails.
Promoting Civic Engagement
Helping to build informed and civically engaged communities is central to our work around elections. For example, in countries like Ghana, Ivory Coast and Guinea we’ve engaged in conversations with civic stakeholders such as the Electoral Commissions and civil society organisations to focus on how Facebook can be a positive tool for civic engagement and the steps they can take to stay safe while using our platforms. We’ve also conducted virtual trainings on ads enforcement and civic engagement with political parties in these same countries. We continue to roll out a number of products and features across Facebook and Instagram, including Election Day reminders at the top of Facebook’s News Feed to encourage people to vote, and Security Megaphones to remind page admins of political groups to further secure their accounts using Two-Factor Authentication. We’ve also trained parties, and candidates on security best practices, and how to avoid common threats online.
Keeping People Safe
Keeping people safe on Facebook and Instagram is always our top priority and this is especially important during elections. Since 2016 we have tripled the size of the teams working on safety and security to more than 35,000 people. We’ve hired more systems engineers, security experts and content reviewers, including native language speakers in Swahili, Amharic, Zulu, Somali, Oromo and Hausa, to name a few examples. We’ve also pioneered the use of artificial intelligence to find and remove harmful content more quickly. Between April and June of this year we removed over 15 million pieces of graphic and violent content globally, detecting over 99% proactively, before anyone had to report it.
Our efforts to keep people safe also include using different tools to mitigate harmful content from certain accounts and as hate speech evolves. To further limit the spread of potentially inflammatory content, we continue to temporarily demote content in the News Feeds of users in Ethiopia, and other countries across Africa if it comes from those who repeatedly and severely violate our policies, whether or not those repeat violators are located in the country.
As we do in other languages, we’ve also started using our technology to stay ahead of new trends in hate speech in Amharic and Oromo. We identify new forms of potentially violating speech that hasn’t yet been reviewed for possible removal from our platform and demote this content to reduce the risk of it going viral or inciting violence or hatred, taking local context into account.
Our Partnerships with NGOs and Civil Society
Alongside our local experts on the continent, we continue to work on-the-ground with NGOs and civil society across many African countries to enable us to better understand challenges and how we can tackle them more effectively. This work continues to be instrumental, with local partners giving us feedback that we incorporate into our policies and programs.
We’re committed to making Facebook and Instagram places where people feel safe, can access accurate and transparent information and, most importantly, make their voices heard.
Nigerian Artists, Creators To Benefit From $100m YouTube Fund
YouTube today announced that artists and creators from Nigeria can apply for grants from its Black Voices Fund. The global $100m fund will, over the next three years, offer support to Black artists and creators so that they can thrive on YouTube.
Interested artists and creators can apply for funding here.
The Black Voices Fund, says Alex Okosi, MD, Emerging Markets, YouTube EMEA, will invest with the intention to “present fresh narratives that emphasise the intellectual power, authenticity, dignity and joy of Black voices, as well as to educate audiences about racial justice”.
The $100m fund was first announced in June. It has since been officially named the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund. This year, says Okosi, the fund will be focusing its efforts on creators within the US, Brazil and Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
“Our goal is to expand funding to more countries over the course of the next three years,” he adds. “Additionally, we hope to provide a consistent drumbeat of educational training, workshops, and community events to Black creators and artists globally.”
The #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund is part of the work currently underway to ensure that YouTube is a place where Black artists, creators and users can share their stories and be protected.
“Along with our commitment to amplifying marginalised voices on the content side, we are also investing in product and policy changes that will continue to advance YouTube’s mission of giving everyone a voice and showing them the world,” Okosi adds.
YouTube believes that it is only by taking a stand against those who would try to bully, harass, silence and intimidate others that it truly moves closer to achieving this mission. Its new efforts include ramping up enforcement and terminating more accounts that repeatedly post hateful comments. It is also in the process of rolling out product changes to make creator moderation tools more streamlined.
NCC Alerts Nigerian Public On Cloned Facebook Account
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has alerted the general public, especially telecoms consumers to a fraudulent and cloned Facebook profile account opened with a name similar to the Commission’s official name on the social media site.
The Commission, upon detecting the fake Facebook account with the name “NIGERIA COMMUNICATION COMMISSION OFFICIAL WEBSITE”, deems it fit to inform members of the public that this account is fake and fraudulent.
From our findings, the fake Facebook group account was created a year ago and has since amassed followership who, the Commission believes, must have inadvertently signed on to the site.
The NCC states that this is a typical case of profile cloning, which represents a severe security issue in social media networks. It is often used to create a fake profile identical to an original one, for the purpose of misleading the unsuspecting general public.
For the avoidance of doubt, the official and authentic Facebook account of the Commission is: “NIGERIAN COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION” with over 181,580 followers.
The Commission strongly advises Nigerian citizens and all telecom consumers to beware of this fraudulent Facebook account as the NCC has no affiliation with it. It is what it is: A cloned Facebook account, meant to deceive and defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
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