Facebook Launching Project To Make Internet More Affordable

Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has enlisted Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS), Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) and four other companies for a project aimed at bringing Internet access to people around the world who can’t afford it, mirroring efforts by Google Inc (GOOG.O) and others.

The project is called Internet.org and will be launched Wednesday. It focuses on enabling the next 5 billion people without access to come online, Zuckerberg said.

“The goal of Internet.org is to make Internet access available to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected and to bring the same opportunities to everyone that the connected third of the world has today,” said Zuckerberg.

Other players in the project include Ericsson (ERICb.ST), MediaTek Inc (2454.TW), Nokia (NOK1V.HE), and Opera Software ASA (OPERA.OL).

The partnership will develop lower-cost, higher-quality smartphones and deploy Internet access in underserved communities, Facebook said. (link.reuters.com/zen52v)

Google said in June that it had launched a small network of balloons over the Southern Hemisphere in an experiment it hopes could bring reliable Internet access to the world’s most remote regions.

That pilot program, Project Loon, took off in June from New Zealand’s South Island, using solar-powered, high-altitude balloons that ride the wind about 12.5 miles, or twice as high as airplanes, above the ground, Google said.

R.Kelly Drops New Single, My Story Featuring 2Chainz

Music maestro, R.Kelly has released a brand new single titled ‘My Story,’ featuring popular rapper, 2 Chainz.

The 46-year old American singer-songwriter and record producer who is known for many hits like ‘I Believe I Can Fly,’ ‘Storm Is Over,’ ‘Trapped in the closet,’ expressed excitement about his successful career on social media site, Facebook.

“They say life is just a game and I thank God that I’m winning,” he said.

In March 2011, R. Kelly was named the most successful R&B artist of the last 25 years by Billboard.

According to Wikipedia, Kelly has released 10 studio albums, sold 38.5 million albums in the U.S. and over 54 million albums worldwide making him the most successful R&B male artist of 1990s.

OPINION: Impact Of Social Media On Nigerian Journalism

Journalism is the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines or of broadcasting news on radio or television while Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange and comment on contents among themselves in virtual communities and networks.

The impact of social media in the communication system cannot be overemphasized as traditional media has undoubtedly taken an onward progressive turn in achieving its core assignments of educating, informing and entertaining its audience; the Nigerian populace.

The consistent and goal-driven use of social media has filled the interactive and investigative vacuum found in the traditional media in Nigeria and the entire world. Hitherto this new age of journalism, reporters were only able to practice the time-sensitive profession within a certain constrained environment which permitted the Nigerian journalist to find facts from physically available sources.

Today, the Nigerian journalist can boast of new skills in news gathering and better accuracy in reporting the opinion of the people. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google + have been used to monitor trends and gather intelligence in regards to the opinion of the masses.

Take for instance events which have garnered much attention as a result of activities on social media. Thousands of Nigerians joined Twitter during and after the subsidy protest (OccupyNigeria) of 2012,  the death of four UNIPORT students (ALUU4) caused a nationwide outcry against ‘jungle justice,’ the video of a policeman caught extorting a motorist went viral online and has now found its way into TV and radio.

These events were either instigated or projected online as a result of the use of social media platforms by those who witnessed and shared the details.

The ability of the social media to breed interactivity has caused the audience to exit its passive shell and enter into a new sphere of activity. This has helped in a number of other sectors in the economy; most especially politics and education. Worthy of note is the fact that social media has helped traditional media to gain its lost audience (youths).

With the rise in social media usage, Nigerian youths, who scarcely subscribed to the print media, have now cultivated a healthy habit of keeping abreast of events in the country.

Social media has impacted Nigerian journalism in the area of reporting as new features i-reports which allows individuals report events in real time in any case where an official correspondent is not on ground.

The integration of social media in news gathering and delivery has also enabled the Nigerian journalist to work in a capacity that totally erases the restrictions of distance. Today, interviews are conducted via email correspondence, Twitter conversations, Skype video chats etc.

Breaking News! This feature has been redefined since the advent of social media in Nigerian journalism. Journalists can now break news as they happen with supporting files such as pictures taken and posted alongside headlines.

Live broadcasts have been made possible online via web streaming. In most cases, the audience is able to participate and give feedback via the comments section which allows the reporter access to instant feedback.

The World Wide Web evolves daily; so does the social media. This means traditional media will yet experience even more changes and growth in times to come.

Written by Mayowa Ogundele, an online journalist with Channels Television, creative writer and aspiring broadcaster. Follow her via Twitter @Ohluwamayowa and Google+, Mayowa Ogundele.

Facebook Admits Year-long Data Breach Exposed 6 Million Users

Facebook Inc has inadvertently exposed 6 million users’ phone numbers and email addresses to unauthorized viewers over the past year, the world’s largest social networking company disclosed late Friday.

Facebook blamed the data leaks, which began in 2012, on a technical glitch in its massive archive of contact information collected from its 1.1 billion users worldwide. As a result of the glitch, Facebook users who downloaded contact data for their list of friends obtained additional information that they were not supposed to have.

Facebook’s security team was alerted to the bug last week and fixed it within 24 hours. But Facebook did not publicly acknowledge the bug until Friday afternoon, when it published an “important message” on its blog explaining the issue.

A Facebook spokesman said the delay was due to company procedure stipulating that regulators and affected users be notified before making a public announcement.

“We currently have no evidence that this bug has been exploited maliciously and we have not received complaints from users or seen anomalous behavior on the tool or site to suggest wrongdoing,” Facebook said on its blog.

While the privacy breach was limited, “it’s still something we’re upset and embarrassed by, and we’ll work doubly hard to make sure nothing like this happens again,” it added.

The breach follows recent disclosures that several consumer Internet companies turned over troves of user data to a large-scale electronic surveillance program run by U.S. intelligence.

The companies include Facebook, Google Inc, Microsoft Corp, Apple Inc and Yahoo Inc.

The companies, led by Facebook, successfully negotiated with the U.S. government last week to reveal the approximate number of user information requests that each company had received, including secret national security orders.

Facebook’s Mobile Business Expands In First Quarter

Facebook Inc’s mobile advertising revenue growth gained momentum in the first three months of the year as the social network sold more ads to users on smartphones and tablets, partially offsetting higher spending which weighed on profits.

New types of ads designed for smartphones, particularly ads aimed at enticing Facebook users to install mobile apps on their phones, helped lift revenue while traffic to the social network remained strong.

The results reassured Wall Street that the world’s largest social network was keeping up with consumers’ shift from PCs to smartphones, even if the company provided few big surprises during the first quarter.

Mobile ad revenue accounted for 30 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue in the first quarter, compared to roughly 23 percent in the fourth quarter. Sales of ads on mobile devices have been a key element in the recovery of Facebook’s overall ad revenue from a sharp slowdown early last year.

The first-quarter mobile ad revenue was at the higher end of expectations, said Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter. But he said it “needed to be higher for people to get really excited about trend lines”.

Shares of Facebook, which are down roughly 12 percent since the end of January, were up 7 cents at $27.50 in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

“Everyone was focused on two things, one was mobile and how big it could be, and the other thing was engagement,” said Ronald Josey, an analyst with Jefferies & Co.

Facebook delivered solid results on both fronts, Josey said, noting that consumers’ use of Facebook does not appear to have declined despite a growing array of popular social networking and mobile messaging alternative services, such as Pinterest and WhatsApp.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 28-year-old co-founder and chief executive, told investors on a conference call on Wednesday that there was room for Facebook and rival services to thrive. He said mobile photo-sharing service Instagram, which Facebook acquired last year, was now growing faster than Facebook did at a similar stage in its history.

Facebook said it now counted 1.11 billion monthly active users and about 665 million daily active users.

The company said the number of monthly users who logged on solely through mobile devices more than doubled to 189 million users from a year ago.

Graphic: link.reuters.com/ryp77t

NEW AD PRODUCTS

Created in a Harvard dorm room in 2004, Facebook, along with other established Internet companies such as Google Inc and Yahoo Inc, are moving to reposition their businesses for a world in which consumers’ primary Internet access occurs on small-screened smartphones rather than PCs.

Facebook has rolled out a string of big product launches and revamps in recent months, including an overhaul of its newsfeed and search feature, as well an app for Android smartphones that puts Facebook features front and center on phone homescreens.

The various initiatives have contributed to rising spending, with Facebook’s 60 percent year-on-year increase in costs and expenses outpacing the 38 percent revenue increase.

Facebook said it earned $219 million, or 9 cents a share, in the first three months of the year, compared to $205 million, or 9 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding certain items, Facebook said it earned 12 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S were looking for adjusted EPS of 13 cents.

Facebook executives reiterated previous guidance that spending would be up in 2013 as the company invests in new products and in improving the efficacy of its ads.

One nascent type of mobile advertising pioneered by Facebook — ads that encourage users to install third-party apps — could grow meaningfully, Zuckerberg said.

“We’re starting to see real revenue from mobile app installs,” Zuckerberg said, without giving details. “It’s one of our most important new ad products.”

Facebook’s revenue in the first quarter totaled $1.46 billion, versus $1.06 billion in the year-ago period, and roughly in line with analyst expectations. Advertising revenue was up 43 percent in the first quarter, the fastest growth rate since the end of 2011.

“You are seeing pretty strong revenue growth right now,” said Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler. But he warned that the revenue growth could slow in coming quarters as Facebook faces tougher year-on-year comparisons.

Restricting Social Media

[highlight]Social Media has come to be a daily routine in the world and has further broadened the term ‘Global Village’ ascribed to the world in terms of technology.[/highlight]

But it is of the view that the Social media networks can spell doom for one or an entity sometime depending on your views.

On Face Off today, our host Nneota had two IT Specialists, Tolu Ogunlesi and Gbenga Sesan to further enlighten viewers on why or not social media should be restricted.

Judge’s Absence Stalls Cynthia Osokogu’s Murder Trial

The absence of the trial judge in the murder case of the late Cynthia Osokogu on Friday stalled proceedings.

No reason was given for the absence of Justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

A court official merely stated that she was “indisposed.”

The matter was consequently adjourned till the 12th of April for continuation of trial.

Ms. Osokogu, 24, was allegedly drugged and murdered inside a hotel room in Festac Town in Lagos by men she met and became friends with on the social media site Facebook last July.

Okwumo Nwabufor and Olisaeloka Ezike; the principal suspects had been charged with conspiracy to commit felony and murder of the deceased.

The other suspects; Osita Orji, the pharmacist who sold the Rophynol drugs to the alleged murderers and Nonso Ezike who sold the deceased’s Blackberry phone were charged with reckless, negligent act and possession of stolen property respectively.

All the suspects were in court today, including Mr. Orji who had been out on bail after the judge ruled in his favour last month.

Nonso, Olisaeloka’s younger brother, who had also been granted bail, but under stricter terms is still in prison custody as he is yet to meet the conditions.

After the new trial date was confirmed, Mr. Orji left the court with a friend, while the other suspects waited for the prison wardens to take them back to the Black Maria.

The murder trial has seen the prosecution call two witnesses, both of them former employees at the hotel where Ms. Osokogu died.

Chris Obiaka, counsel to Mr. Orji said that the trial has been enjoying an accelerated trial, as promised by the judge.

“The important thing is not to rush proceedings. It is to ensure that justice is done and done accordingly,” Mr. Obiaka said.

Hangout With Onyeka Onwenu on G+

Join us for yet another online hangout with superstar singer, actress and politician Onyeka Onwenu on March 15, 2013 at 2pm (WAT). Follow our Google+ Page now www.google.com/+ChannelsTelevision and get a chance to meet and chat with Onyeka.

This is an opportunity for you to ask the question(s) you have been desiring to get answers to from the singer.

Cynthia Osokogwu’s Murder: Suspects Plead Guilty

All four suspects involved in the murder of Cynthia Osokogwu have pleaded guilty to the six-count charge brought against them.

Trial has started in the case of the Nasarrawa State University postgraduate student who was allegedly lured to Lagos and killed by men she became friends with on Facebook.

The late Cynthia died after she was allegedly poisoned, raped and strangulated to death by two of the men, Okwumo Nwabufo and Ezike Olisaeloka.

All moves by the defence team to stall the trial were frustrated by presiding justice Olabisi Akinlade of the Lagos high court, Ikeja, who promptly took the testimony of the first prosecution witness after the arraignment of the four suspects in the case.

However, all four defendants all pleaded guilty to the six-count charge brought against them.

In her testimnoy, the first prosecution witness, Mrs Ifeanyiwa Njewu, a biochemistry graduate of the Federal University of Technology Minna, Niger state, testified that at the time of the incident, on the 22nd of July, 2012, she worked as the receptionist of the Cosmilla Suites & Hotel at Lakeview phase 1 estate, Lagos, where the late Cynthia was killed.

Mrs. Njewu identified the 2nd and 4th defendants as being present at the hotel on the day of the incident.

The court, however, granted bail to the 3rd and 4th defendants in the case, while the 1st & 2nd who allegedly committed the offence of murder are still remanded at the Kirikiri prison in Lagos.

Trial continues on the 22nd of February.

Coach Erin Is Dead

A Nigerian athletics coach, Samuel Akinyemi a.k.a Coach Erin is dead.

Damola Osayomi was discovered by ‘Coach Erin’

The late Coach died in a Hospital at Ado Ekiti State on Monday after he was admitted for an undisclosed illness.

Coach Erin as he is fondly called was a respected track and field coach who discovered and nurtured the country’s athletic stars such as Fatimah Yusuf, Seun Ogunkoya and Damola Osayomi into becoming international stars.

Fatimah Yusuf won a gold medal in the 400m sprint at the Commonwealth Games in 1990 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Seun Ogunkoya, regarded as one of the finest sprinters in Africa, held an excellent record as one of the fastest men in the continent.

And the third Nigerian woman to run in the 100m finals at the IAAF World Championships, Damola Osayomi is also the reigning All Africa Games 100m queen.

Commenting on the death of Coach Erin on her Facebook wall, Osayemi said she has always taken coach Erin as her ‘father’ because he helped her in nurturing her talent which brought stardom.

“I woke up this morning (yesterday) with very sad news to my soul that my grassroots coach, the man that brought me up in track and field, a coach like a father to me whom a lot of athletes think is my father, is no more.

“Coach Samuel Akinyemi a.k.a (Erin) is gone. May your gentle soul Rest in Peace, Coach Erin. You contributed a lot to my life. I will forever miss you my coach,”

Other Nigerian athletes who knew Coach Erin also took on the Social Media Network to pay their last respects to the renowned track and field coach.

D’banj Apologizes To Fans Who Showed Up At The Koko Concert

Popular musician Dapo Oyebanjo also known as D’banj recently organized one of the most talked about concert “Koko concert”, apologized for the inconveniences that occurred while coming for the concert.

The concert was held at the Eko Atlantic City, hosted by DJ Idris Elba, Bovi and Basketmouth. It also featured a host of other international stars including Push-T, Big Sean, Tinie Tempah amongst other Nigerian acts.

Fans who went for the event complained all over the social network platforms (Face Book, Twitter) how they had to trek a long distance to get to the venue of the event including celebrities.

D’banj took the social media platform, Twitter to apologize to his fans for the problems they encountered while getting to the venue of the event.

Iran Launches Mehr, Own Version Of YouTube

Ahmadinejad’s government of Iran has launched a social network website whereby government approved contents only can be allowed to be uploaded unto the website, this has been said to be Iran’s version of YouTube but it is mainly to promote culture and values of Iran.

It will be recalled that the widely known YouTube was blocked by President Ahmadinejad along with other social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have also been blocked.

This move we hear is to block any kind of western influence on the people of Iran in everyway, to curb future uprising against the Ahmadinejad government.

Ahmadinejad decided on the blockage of YouTube when his election was contested after he was declared winner and was followed by a wave of protest which ended up forcing the state to take tough actions against dissidents.

The government has in its pipeline an internet provision outfit which it would be launching to take care of citizens’ connection to the wider web which allows them access to some Western media outlets, Blogs, pornography and social networks like Facebook and Twitter which are already banned in the country.

The move has been widely criticised by the western world as trying to minimise the freedom of the citizens of Iran in web access. http://ir.mehr.ir