No VC: Facebook is not making any direct investments to African tech startups

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Facebook has been scaling up its operations in Africa and engaging more intently with tech startups on the continent, but the company has decided it will not be making any direct investments, Disrupt Africa reports That is according to Julien Decot, director of platform partnerships for EMEA at Facebook, who was speaking at last week’s MEST Africa Summit in Cape Town. He said the decision not to become an investor had come straight from Zuckerberg himself. “That was a Zuckerberg decision. The way Mark thought about it was – “this…

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Senegalese-Born Musician Akon To Launch Akoin Cryptocurrency

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The American-based Senegalese artist says the cryptocurrency will be the currency of choice in Akon Crypto City, a 2,000-hectare development which is under construction in an area just outside Dakar, Senegal’s capital city. The rapper describes the development as the real-life Wakanda. He also believes the technology has benefits for those on African soil, disadvantaged by political and social circumstances. Unfortunately, Akon didn’t reveal any technical details of the cryptocurrency. CANNES — Senegal-born star Akon — whose Lighting Africa project is bringing solar power to Africa — is at Cannes…

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Tinder parent company buys anti-Tinder dating app Hinge

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Match Group, a massive online dating conglomerate, acquired Hinge today in a deal that gives the company a 51 percent stake in the app. Hinge initially marketed itself as a more welcoming version of Tinder in which users could only see potential matches who shared a mutual Facebook friend. The company then redesigned its app to get rid of all swiping features and in its place let users build out full profile pages. Hinge users can answer three questions about themselves, connect their accounts to their Instagram, and also upload multiple photos,…

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Lyft makes it easier to track business travel expenses

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Lyft  announced today that taking a business trip and then actually turning in your travel receipts just got a whole lot easier. A new feature for business profiles will allow employers to create a direct connection between employee trips and travel managers in charge of their reimbursement. While this integrated functionality is not new for the ridesharing company, it is the smoothest it has ever been. In 2016, Lyft launched its business profiles to allow users the ability to easily share receipts via their work emails. Then, in the summer of 2017, the company announced in-app integration…

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Facebook entices content creators with new community-centered video platform

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Facebook announced several new live video features today that will allow creators to make their live streams more like games with polls and quizzes. The features are similar to those that creators on YouTube have had access to for months through the recent addition of the Community tab. These new features could entice established creators to migrate to Facebook’s video platform. Facebook says these features will reinvent traditional entertainment formats as more “community-centric,” and it noted a trend in more collaborative video consumption that relies on audience participation. YouTube integrated polling…

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Instagram’s Video Hub Dubbed IGTV Set to Launch Tomorrow

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The Instagram longer-form video hub that’s launching tomorrow is called IGTV and it will be part of the Explore tab, according to multiple sources. Instagram  has spent the week meeting with online content creators to encourage them to prepare videos closer to 10-minute YouTube vlogs than the 1-minute maximum videos the app allows today. Instagram is focusing its efforts around web celebrities that made their name on mobile rather than more traditional, old-school publishers and TV studios that might come off too polished and processed. The idea is to let these creators,  who have a knack for this…

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Gaming Disorder Officially Recognized by WHO

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For most of us, a round or three of Fortnite can serve as a playful escapism. But for a small number of people, the World Health Organisation is warning gaming is developing into an unhealthy addiction. The United Nations’ health agency for the first time listed gaming as an addictive behaviour disorder in its latest international classification of diseases, the ICD-11. The disorder, a “genuine” and “harmful” mental health condition, can also contribute to other problems such as lack of physical activity, an unhealthy diet, sleep deprivation and aggressive behaviour. “What…

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Twitter prioritizes breaking news in an app redesign

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Online news and social networking service, Twitter, announced  that it is changing up its service in favour of major events to make it easier for people to access the latest breaking news. This shift in focus sets the service apart from other social media networks such as Facebook who have opted to focus less on live events and news and more on the personal lives and interests of its user base. In terms of what they’re changing, the  app will now feature a “happening now” module to highlight all kinds…

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Blockchain technology may play a major role in equalizing American cities

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The city of Austin is currently piloting a program in which its 2,000 homeless residents will be given a unique identifier that’s safely and securely recorded on the blockchain. This identifier will help individuals consolidate their records and seek out crucial services. Service providers will also be able to access the information. If successful, we’ll have a new, more efficient way to communicate and ensure that the right people are at the table to help the homeless. In Austin and around the country, it seems that blockchain technology is opening a range…

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Facebook’s new AI research is a real eye-opener

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There are plenty of ways to manipulate photos to make you look better, remove red eye or lens flare, and so on. But so far the blink has proven a tenacious opponent of good snapshots. That may change with research from Facebook that replaces closed eyes with open ones in a remarkably convincing manner. It’s far from the only example of intelligent “in-painting,” as the technique is called when a program fills in a space with what it thinks belongs there. Adobe in particular has made good use of it with its…

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