Lai Mohammed Asks Google To Block ‘Terrorist’ Groups On YouTube

A file photo of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday asked Google to block terrorists organisations from YouTube.

He made the request when a team from Google visited him in Abuja.

“We want Google to look into how to tackle the use of private and unlisted YouTube channels and YouTube livestreams by proscribed groups and terrorist organizations,” the Minister said, according to a statement signed by his spokesperson, Segun Adeyemi.

“Channels and emails containing names of proscribed groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on Google platforms,” he said.

Mohammed, who noted that Google is a platform of choice for IPOB, a proscribed terrorist group, implored the tech giant to deny IPOB the use of its platform for its acts of violence and destabilization.

READ ALSO: Terrorists’ Threat To Kidnap Buhari Is Laughable – Lai Mohammed

He said Nigerians are among the most vibrant social media users in the world, with over 100 million Internet users in the country, and that internet platforms such as Google, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and WhatsApp enable Nigerians to interact, share ideas……earn a living and participate in social and political affairs.

The Minister however observed that those platforms are also used by unscrupulous persons or groups for subversive and nefarious activities.

Mohammed said the Federal Nigerian Government recently proposed a “Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/ Internet Intermediaries” in an attempt to provide a framework for collaboratively protecting Nigerian users of Internet platforms.

“This code couldn’t have come at a better time, as the country prepares for general elections next year. We are committed to working with platforms like yours as well as the civil society, lawyers, media practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to ensure a responsible use of the Internet and to protect our people from the harmful effects of social media,” he said.

In his remarks,Google Regional Dir.,Sub-Saharan Africa,Govt. Affairs and Public Policy, Mr. Charles Murito,said the platform has introduced a prog. called “Trusted Flaggers” for citizens trained to track and engage with online contents in order to flag contents of serious concern

“As I mentioned earlier, we share the same sentiments, we share the same goals and objectives and we do not want our platform to be used for ill purposes,” he said.

On his part, Google Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager, Mr. Adewolu Adene, said “Equiano”, a subsea cable which recently berthed in Nigeria from Portugal, is aimed at enhancing connectivity and access to the internet as well as to drive down the cost of data,in order to create jobs and facilitate the transfer of knowledge.

He said through the Google News Initiative Challenge, 30 media platforms, with 5 from Nigeria, including the Dubawa fact-checking platform, would be awarded a $3.2 million grant in recognition of their innovative work in information dissemination.

Mr. Adene also pledged the readiness of Google to work with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to digitize the recently-repatriated artifacts in order to preserve and market them to a global audience through Google Arts and Culture.

Google-Parent Alphabet’s Profit Slips As Growth Slows

Google on Friday, January 14, agreed to buy a central London building complex for $1 billion, but stressed it remained committed to new hybrid working patterns in the wake of Covid.
Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

 

Google-parent Alphabet reported Tuesday its profit and revenue slipped as the internet giant’s long sizzling ad revenue growth cooled, but the market seemed relieved the news wasn’t worse.

Big tech firms are grappling with multiple problems, from inflation to the war in Ukraine, and results in general for the quarter have not been great so far.

Alphabet’s revenue in the latest quarter grew 13 percent to $69.7 billion, with its global search and cloud computing services bringing in most of the money — but this was under analysts’ expectations.

“I think it’s a good time to sharpen our focus,” Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai told an earnings call. “It’s a chance to digest and make sure we are working on the right things.”

Net income at Alphabet fell 13 percent year-over-year to $16 billion in the latest quarter, but the flow of online ad dollars that fuels the company’s fortunes has slowed as inflation, war and other troubles vex the overall economy.

“Google’s earnings miss this quarter proves it’s not immune to the challenges facing the digital advertising industry at large,” said analyst Evelyn Mitchell.

“Still, with its tremendous market share in search advertising, Google is relatively well positioned to weather the rough waters that lie ahead,” she added.

The internet giant’s stock was up about 4.5 percent in after-hours trading, as the market appeared relieved by the results.

– Slowing hiring –
Google was also paying more to acquire online “traffic” from which it makes money, the earnings report showed.

Meanwhile, revenue from ads on video-sharing platform YouTube was up only slightly in the quarter. Google has looked to YouTube as a source of growth as people spend growing amounts of time looking at online videos.

“In the second quarter our performance was driven by Search and Cloud,” Pichai said.

Earnings season has gotten off to a rough start with less than stellar news from both Netflix and Snapchat’s parent firm, a decidedly different world than seen during the pandemic surge.

Netflix reported last week losing subscribers for the second quarter in a row as the streaming giant battles fierce competition and viewer belt tightening, but the company assured investors of better days ahead.

The loss of 970,000 paying customers in the most recent quarter was not as big as expected, and left Netflix with just shy of 221 million subscribers.

The company said in its earnings report that it had expected to gain a million paid subscribers in the current quarter.

At the same time, Snapchat’s owner announced plans last week to “substantially” slow recruitment after bleak results wiped some 30 percent off the stock price of the tech firm, which is facing difficulties on several fronts.

Snap reported that its loss in the recently ended quarter nearly tripled to $422 million despite revenue increasing 13 percent under conditions “more challenging” than expected.

In addition to current troubling economic conditions, analysts pointed to longer term issues for Google.

“The revenue is showcasing that they are reaching near saturation of their market,” said analyst Rob Enderle. “Their opportunity to grow is going to decrease over time.”

According to Insider Intelligence, Google is expected to reap nearly $175 billion in net ad revenue in 2022, or 29 percent of the global digital ad pie.

Alphabet, with more than 174,000 employees worldwide, has recruited throughout the pandemic, but it recently announced a slowdown in hiring for the rest of the year.

“Although we expect the pace of headcount growth to moderate next year, we will continue hiring for critical roles, particularly focused on top engineering and technical talent,” said chief financial officer Ruth Porat.

Many other tech companies have decided to lay off staff, including Netflix and Twitter, or slow the pace of hiring, such as Microsoft and Snap.

Kizz Daniel’s ‘Buga’ Is The Most Googled Song In Nigeria

Kizz Daniel in his ‘Buga’ video.

 

 

Kizz Daniel’s 2022 hit song ‘Buga’ with Tekno is the most googled song in Nigeria.

Since its release, ‘Buga’ has broken several records. The dance challenges on Tiktok and Instagram helped people enjoy the little more than three-minute song better, which has increased its popularity.

The song has caught the attention of both young and older demographics and it has also enjoyed domestic and international acceptance. Notable personalities that have danced to the song include Liberian President, George Weah and former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.

‘Buga’ was released on 3rd May 2022, it became the most popular song in Nigeria and was the most Shazamed song in the world and the song also held the number one position in over ten countries on the Apple Music Charts.

Its position as the most Googled song in Nigeria in the first half of 2022 highlights its wide reach and is immutable proof of its status.

The colourful video of the song, directed by TG Omori, was shot in a carnival-like setting, displaying various countries’ flags. Since its release, it has garnered over 29 million views.

The music video also features famous skit maker, Chukwuemeka Ejekwu, best known with his Oga Sabinus moniker. The skit maker won the best online content at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.

The ‘Woju’ singer started his music career in 2013 when he signed a record deal with G-Worldwide Entertainment; he left the label following a well-publicised contract dispute and court case.

The former “Kiss Daniel” founded his record label, the Fly Boy Inc record label, in November 2017.

Other songs on the most googled list include:

1. Kizz Daniel & Tekno – ‘Buga’
2. Mavins’ Crayon, Ayra Starr, LADIPOE, Magixx & Boy Spyce – ‘Overdose’
3. Ruger – ‘Girlfriend’
4. Rema – ‘Calm Down’
5. Pheelz feat. BNXN – ‘Finesse’
6. Ruger – ‘Dior’
7. Portable ft. Olamide & Poco Lee – ‘Zazu Zeh’
8. Kizz Daniel – ‘Pour Me Water’
9. Skiibii – ‘Baddest boy’
10. Asake – ‘Peace Be Unto You’

Google To Open Payments App To Meet EU Regulations

Google on Friday, January 14, agreed to buy a central London building complex for $1 billion, but stressed it remained committed to new hybrid working patterns in the wake of Covid.
Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

 

Google has announced that it will open its Google Play application to alternative payment methods in order to meet new EU regulations.

The issue of alternative payment methods on app marketplaces has been contentious, with Apple losing a legal battle last year in the United States against Fortnite-maker Epic Games on the question.

In a Tuesday blog post, Google said it recognised that the recently adopted Digital Markets Act would require Google Play and other industry players to adjust the operating models of their online marketplaces for European Users.

“As part of our efforts to comply with these new rules, we are announcing a new program to support billing alternatives for EEA users,” said Estelle Werth, Google’s director for EU Government Affairs and Public Policy.

“This will mean developers of non-gaming apps can offer their users in the EEA an alternative to Google Play’s billing system when they are paying for digital content and services,” she added.

Those developers will get a reduction in the fee they pay to have their app appear on Google Play but will still have to pay Google.

Game developers will continue to be required to use Google Play’s billing system for the moment, but it said it planned to have alternatives available before the new EU regulations go into force.

The level of the fees charged by both tech giants on transactions made on Apple’s App Store and Google Play was at the heart of the dispute between Epic Games and Apple.

The tech giants contend these are appropriate to ensure their online marketplaces are safe and they can continue to develop their operating systems.

Google said the fee would be reduced by three percentage points.

For apps that generate more than $1 million in revenue per year that means the fee will drop to 27 percent of the transaction.

For smaller developers, the fee will drop to 12 percent.

The changes apply only in the European Economic Area.

The Dutch competition authority earlier this year required Apple to open the App Store to alternative payment methods in the Netherlands.

Russia Fines Google $360m Over Ukraine Content

 

A Moscow court has fined Google 21 billion rubles ($360 million) for failing to remove content concerning Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, the nation’s telecommunications regulator said Monday.

Roskomnadzor said the Google-owned video platform YouTube had failed to block “false information” on the offensive in Ukraine, “extremist and terrorist propaganda” and content “calling on minors to participate in unauthorised demonstrations”.

The regulator said that as this was a repeat conviction for Google the fine was based on its annual revenue in Russia.

Russian authorities have been dialling up their pressure on Western social media firms in recent years with repeated fines and threats in a bid to remove criticism from the internet, one of the last bastions of free speech in Russia.

Like most of its Western rivals, Google recently quit the Russian market to denounce Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

According to Vladimir Zykov, an expert cited by Russian news agency Ria-Novosti, the fine is the largest ever imposed on a Western tech firm by a Russian court.

Russian authorities can impose on Google “as many fines as they wish, they won’t receive the money” as the firm has pulled out of the country, he added.

Google had no immediate comment concerning the fine.

Roskomnadzor branded the activities of Google and YouTube with the “terrorist” label in March, opening up the possibility they would be blocked in Russia, as have Twitter, Instagram and many independent media following the start of the military operation.

Russian authorities have increased the legal penalties for speaking out against the conflict. Those found guilty of spreading “false information” about the Russian military face up to 15 years in jail.

Several people have already been jailed on such charges.

-AFP

Google Loses Defamation Fight Against Australian politician

File Photo of Google
Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

 

Australia’s federal court ordered Google on Monday to pay more than $500,000 in damages to a politician after finding he had been defamed by a comedian’s videos hosted on YouTube.

John Barilaro was deputy premier of the state of New South Wales in 2020, when an Australian comedian known as friendlyjordies uploaded a series of videos to YouTube, accusing the politician of corruption and using an Italian accent to mock his heritage.

Barilaro labelled the videos racist and broke down in court watching one that had been filmed by friendlyjordies at a luxurious property that the politician owned and rented out on Airbnb.

“I’m traumatised by it,” Barilaro said during his testimony.

Barilaro settled with friendlyjordies, whose real name is Jordan Shanks, in late 2021, with the comedian issuing an apology and agreeing to edit the videos, which have now been viewed more than one million times on YouTube.

While Google, which owns YouTube, had initially defended the case, the search giant eventually abandoned its defences, some of which the court said were “obviously hopeless”.

Justice Steven Rares found Google liable for the harm caused to Barilaro from December 2020 — when the politician’s lawyers wrote to the company demanding the offending videos be removed — and ordered it to pay aggravated damages.

The judge found Google’s publication of the videos drove Barilaro from public office prematurely — he resigned from parliament in October 2020 — “and traumatised him significantly”.

He also said Shanks “needed YouTube to disseminate his poison” and said Google was willing to join the comedian “to earn revenue as part of its business model”.

Google has been approached for comment.

Google Urged To Stop Location Tracking To Protect Privacy Of Abortion Seekers

Google on Friday, January 14, agreed to buy a central London building complex for $1 billion, but stressed it remained committed to new hybrid working patterns in the wake of Covid.
Ben STANSALL / AFP

 

 

 

A group of US Democratic lawmakers urged Google on Tuesday to stop collecting smartphone location data that could be used to identify women who have had abortions.

The move came amid fears that the US Supreme Court was considering overturning Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 ruling that guaranteed nationwide access to abortion.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders along with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were among more than 40 lawmakers who signed a letter to Google chief executive Sundar Pichai.

“We are concerned that, in a world in which abortion could be made illegal, Google’s current practice of collecting and retaining extensive records of cell phone location data will allow it to become a tool for far-right extremists looking to crack down on people seeking reproductive health care,” said the letter, which was published online.

“That’s because Google stores historical location information about hundreds of millions of smartphone users, which it routinely shares with government agencies.”

Google did not respond to a request for comment.

Polls show that a majority of Americans support some form of access to abortion.

But in recent months, Republican-controlled states have taken steps to restrict abortion rights — with some seeking an outright ban of the procedure without any exceptions — and overturning Roe would grant them greater freedom to enact their policies.

“If this decision becomes final, the consequences will be dire,” the lawmakers said.

“Republicans in Congress are already discussing passing a law criminalizing abortion in all 50 states, putting the government in control of women’s bodies.”

In their letter, the lawmakers urged Google to stop gathering location data from smartphones that could be used by prosecutors keen to identify women who have visited health care facilities that provide abortions.

Google routinely receives court orders compelling it turn over user location information, including “geofence” orders, that demand data about everyone who was near a particular place at a certain time, the letter said.

“If abortion is made illegal by the far-right Supreme Court and Republican lawmakers, it is inevitable that right-wing prosecutors will obtain legal warrants to hunt down, prosecute and jail women for obtaining critical reproductive health care,” the letter said.

“The only way to protect your customers’ location data from such outrageous government surveillance is to not keep it in the first place.”

Nonprofit digital rights group Fight For The Future echoed the legislators’ plea in an online petition demanding that Google get rid of its location data stockpile the could be “weaponized against abortion patients and doctors.”

Google’s Subsea Cable Arrives In Nigeria, To Improve Internet Speed

This photo, published by Google, shows a cable extending from the ocean.
This photo, published by Google, shows a cable extending from the ocean.

 

Google’s subsea cable, Equiano , has arrived in Lagos, Nigeria.

In a note announcing the arrival, Google’s West Africa Director, Juliet Ehimuan, said the cable will help improve internet speeds in Nigeria.

The cable, named after Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist, will run from Portugal along Africa’s west coast to South Africa.

“Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy. Still, the share of people using the internet stood at approximately 35% as of 2020 – double what it was in 2012. Across much of the country, people lack affordable, reliable & quality access, which limits their ability to benefit from, and contribute to, the digital economy,” Ehimuan said.

READ ALSO: Google Launches First Product Development Centre In Africa, Set To Hire Developers

“Since 2017, the Nigerian government has been actively working on its digital transformation programs as part of plans to grow its domestic sectors.

“These initiatives have proven pivotal to the success of many industries in the country, especially the startup space. In the last five years, startups in Nigeria have produced five unicorns (startups valued at over a billion dollars). Businesses are also benefiting significantly from the usage of internet platforms, with total e-commerce annual expenditure predicted to climb to $75 billion by 2025, up from its current projection of US $12 billion.

“Though a great deal of progress has been made, studies suggest that faster internet connections, better user experiences, and reduced internet costs will help accelerate these benefits.

“Landing this cable comes as part of critical stages leading up to its deployment later this year, and it is expected to deliver up to 20 times more capacity than the region’s prior cables. We’ve worked with established partners and in-country experts to ensure that Equiano has the greatest potential effect in Nigeria and throughout Africa.

“A recent economic impact assessment conducted by Africa Practice and Genesis Analytics states that Equiano’s arrival in Nigeria is expected to result in faster internet speeds and significantly improve people’s experiences while online. Internet speeds in Nigeria are expected to grow almost sixfold by 2025, and retail internet prices are forecasted to decline by 21% over the same period. The same study found that by 2025, real GDP in Nigeria is forecast to be USD 10.1 billion higher than it otherwise would have been without Equiano and that the cable would indirectly generate roughly 1.6 million new jobs between 2022 and 2025.

“We are partnering with multiple key telecom players, including our landing party, the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC), where Equiano lands to ensure that the cable can reach more businesses and end users across Nigeria and the African continent more broadly

“With Equiano, we look forward to being an even more integral part of the digital transformation journey in Nigeria.”

Google Launches First Product Development Centre In Africa, Set To Hire Developers

In this file photo taken on January 22, 2019 a technician passes by a logo of US internet search giant Google during the opening day of a new Berlin office of Google in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP
In this file photo taken on January 22, 2019 a technician passes by a logo of US internet search giant Google during the opening day of a new Berlin office of Google in Berlin. Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

 

Google on Tuesday announced its first Product Development Centre in Africa, to be located in Nairobi, Kenya.

The new centre will help to create transformative products and services for people in Africa and around the world and will be hiring visionary engineers, product managers, UX designers and researchers to lay the foundation for significant growth in the coming years.

The centre is looking for talented, creative people who can help solve difficult and important technical challenges, such as improving the smartphone experience for people in Africa, or building a more reliable internet infrastructure.

READ ALSO: Twitter Adopts ‘Poison Pill’ Defense Against Musk Buyout Bid

Google’s VP for Products, Suzanne Frey, who made the announcement during a round table with journalists from Sub-Saharan Africa, said “Google’s mission in Africa is to make the Internet helpful to Africans and partner with African governments, policymakers, educators, entrepreneurs and businesses to shape the next wave of innovation in Africa. Today I am excited to welcome all Africans passionate about improving the digital experience of African users by building better products to apply for the open roles at our first product development centre in Africa.”

Also speaking during the announcement, the Managing Director, Google Africa, Nitin Gajria added that ‘’there are 300M internet users in Africa who are young, mobile-first and have similar patterns to mobile youth globally. By 2030, Africa will have 800M internet users and a third of the world’s under-35 population. The potential for Africa to become a leading digital economy is right on the horizon and Google is committed to accelerating Africa’s digital transformation through human capital and enabling “African-led solutions to African and global problems” through better products.”

Last October at a Google for Africa event, the CEO, Sundar Pichai, announced a plan to invest $1billion over the next 5 years to support Africa’s digital transformation.

This investment focuses on enabling fast, affordable internet access for more Africans, building helpful products, supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses and helping nonprofits to improve lives across Africa. In 2018 Google also opened an AI research centre in Accra, Ghana to help drive useful innovations.

The new product development centre is a continuation of that commitment and will be working on building for Africa and the world.

All the roles announced today about building for Africa and the world can be viewed at careers.google.com site.

Ex-Google Worker Files Suit Alleging Discrimination Against Black Employees

(FILES) A file photo taken on November 20, 2017 shows logos of US multinational technology company Google displayed on computers’ screens. 
LOIC VENANCE / AFP

 

 

A former Google worker filed a lawsuit on Friday accusing the tech titan of discriminating against her and other Black employees.

April Curley contended in the suit that she was undermined and ultimately fired for advocating reform of “barriers and double standards” imposed on Black Google employees.

“Black Google employees face a hostile work environment and suffer retaliation if they dare to challenge or oppose the company’s discriminatory practices,” the suit alleged.

Google hires few Black workers and steers them into low-level jobs with doors to career advancement kept closed due to their race, according to the suit.

Google did not respond to a request for comment.

Curley was hired by Google in 2014 as a university programs specialists in New York City to reach out to Black college students as potential employees, according to the filing

“She discovered that Google was not genuinely interested in actual diversity and equal employment opportunities but wanted only to burnish its public image for marketing purposes,” the suit contended.

Curley was terminated from her position by Google in late 2020, according to the filing.

“While Google claims that they were looking to increase diversity, they were actually undervaluing, underpaying, and mistreating their Black employees, leading to high turnover,” said Curley’s attorney, Ben Crump.

The suit filed in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose seeks class-action status to represent other Black Google employees.

Curley’s lawyers cited statistics indicating that as of last year, some 4.4 percent of Google employees are Black and that a scant three percent of people in management positions are Black.

They also told the court that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is investigating Google’s treatment of Black female employees.

Russia Accuses Google, YouTube Of ‘Terrorist’ Activities

This file photo taken on February 14, 2020 shows the Google logo in Brussels. Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP
This file photo taken on February 14, 2020 shows the Google logo in Brussels. Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

 

Russian regulators on Friday accused US tech giant Google and its video subsidiary YouTube of “terrorist” activities, the first step towards a possible access ban.

Russia has already blocked access to other global tech giants including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as several independent media.

Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor said YouTube users “are sharing adverts with calls to shut down railway communications between Russia and Belarus”.

READ ALSO: Civilians Survive Ukraine Theatre Strike As Deadly Fighting Rages

Russia partly carried out its military operation against Ukraine last month from the north through the territory of its ally Belarus.

“The YouTube administration’s activities are terrorist in nature and threaten the life and health of Russian citizens,” Roskomnadzor said, quoted by Interfax news agency.

The watchdog denounced Google’s “clearly anti-Russian position” and demanded the US company “stops broadcasting anti-Russian videos as soon as possible”.

Russia earlier this month launched a criminal case against Meta — which owns Facebook and Instagram — accusing the company of allowing posts “calling for the murder” of Russians.

Russia is one of the most restrictive countries for press freedom and freedom of expression, but the situation has worsened in the past few weeks since the operation in Ukraine began on February 24.

 

AFP

She Put A Unique Spin On Traditional Craft, Google Celebrates Potter Ladi Kwali

 

Tech giants, Google, on Wednesday celebrated Nigerian potter, Ladi Kwali, with a doddle, describing her as one of the finest artisans from the country.

“Today’s Doodle celebrates the life of Nigerian educator, ceramicist, glassworker, and potter Ladi Kwali, who helped introduce the international community to the beauty of Nigerian art through intricately decorated earthenware designs,” Google wrote in a blog post.

“Here’s to you, Ladi Kwali! Thanks for putting your unique spin on a traditional craft and sculpting a place for future generations of women artisans,” it said.

READ ALSO: Buhari Approves Reconstitution Of NBC Board

Born in 1925 to a family of potters in Kwali, Abuja, Ladi Kwali learnt pottery from her aunt. She was to later refine the coil and pinch methods as she made several containers ornamented with animal iconography.

Her works began to gain fame when aristocrats started showcasing them as home decorations. In 1954, Kwali made history when he joined the Abuja Pottery Centre and was the first Nigerian woman to train in advanced pottery techniques.

“She fused her traditional style with these innovative methods to craft a hybrid collection of pottery stylized with zoomorphic illustration,” Google said about her.

“Kwali continued to break the mold into the 60s with exhibitions across Europe and the Americas, achieving international acclaim.”

As she grew in her career, she lectured in her local community, sharing secrets of her craft, and received a doctorate from Ahmadu Bello University in 1977 and the Nigerian National Order of Merit Award in 1980.

Kwali was honoured by the Nigerian government. Her face was used in the N20 note, becoming the first and only Nigerian currency to feature a woman.