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Global digital population hits 4.5 billion

About 4.57 billion people were active users of the internet in April 2020.

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With Covid-19 confining within the four walls of their rooms and home, the internet becomes and is becoming a ready resource or platform for commercial and noncommercial interactions.  The implication of this is that more and more people are becoming prone to using the internet. That also has an impact on the global digital population. According to information from Statistica, about 4.57 billion people were active users of the internet in April 2020. This represents 59% of global population.

Among the global internet users, China, India and the United States of America recorded more internet users than the rest of the countries.  As Covid-19 makes it more obvious that much can be done through the internet without any physical presence, the current global online penetration rate of 59% will increase in no distant time. Places like Northern Europe are almost there with a 95% internet penetration rate, Other countries with high internet penetration rates include the United Arab Emirate (UAE), Denmark, and South Korea. Ironically, the next-door neighbour to South Korea, North Korea has almost zero internet penetration rate.

READ MORE: Researchers discover malicious add-on on Google’s Chrome browser with over 32 million downloads 

Qua Vadis Nigeria:  Nigeria as a country and Nigerians as a people have not been doing too badly when it comes to the issue of digital population. According to available data from the National Bureau of Statistics, active internet users/subscribers total 136,203,231  as at the end of Q1 2020. That represents almost 51% of the entire population. Compared to a similar period a year ago, Nigeria recorded an increase in internet penetration rate of 17.1% on year on year basis and 8.03% increase on a quarter to date basis.

State-wide digital population: Lagos state has the greatest number of internet users in Nigeria, with slightly over 17 million users, followed by Kano state with 8.3 million users and then Ogun state with 8.03 internet users. The state with the least internet penetration is Bayelsa state where only 985 thousand people were connected to the internet as at Q1 2020.

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MTN remains the carrier with the largest number of subscribers as 57.3 million internet subscribers in Nigeria are with MTN, while AIRTEL came second with 36.8 million subscribers but closely followed by GLO with 33.9 million subscribers. All those three benefits from 9Mobile, whose loss of a few of its subscribers added to the subscription growth of the bigger market players.

READ MORE: This state has the lowest inflation rate in Nigeria and it’s single digit

Voice subscription: A lot more Nigerians are using their phones for voice services, though. According to the same data from the National Bureau of Statistics, 189, 282,796 Nigerians have voice subscriptions in Q1 2020.  This implies that about 54 million Nigerians have phones that are not internet-enabled. With Covid-19 and the need for students in the tertiary and secondary schools being required to do some or most of their assignments on the internet, that number will change very soon.

Uchenna Ndimele is the President of Quantitative Financial Analytics Ltd. MutualfundsAfrica.com and mutualfundsnigeria.com (both Quantitative Financial Analytics company website) is a leader in supplying mutual fund information, analysis, and commentary on African mutual funds. We provide reliable fund data; and ratings information that will add value to fund managers, the media, individual investors and investment clubs.

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Facebook unveils F2 for payment and commerce plans, appoints David Marcus to head group

The F2 group will also pursue commerce opportunities across all the apps in the company.

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COVID 19: Facebook provides free Ads to help WHO combat Misinformation, Facebook to change Libra unveiling plans, Facebook launches new messaging app, 'Tuned', just for couples, Facebook bans racist ads, in response to ad boycotts by big brands

Facebook Inc has unveiled a new group, the Facebook Financial (F2), to run its payment projects including Facebook Pay, the universal payments plan which will run across all its apps. The F2 group will also pursue commerce opportunities across all the apps in the company.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the group will be headed by David Marcus, co-creator of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project and head of Novi, the division building a digital wallet for the new crypto.

Marcus will also be involved in WhatsApp’s payments efforts in India and Brazil, while he will be assisted by former Upwork Chief Executive Officer, Stephane Kasriel who will serve as a payments vice president.

READ ALSO: President Trump finally bans TikTok, WeChat

“We have a lot of commerce stuff going on across Facebook, It felt like it was the right thing to do to rationalize the strategy at a company level around all things payments,” Marcus said.

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According to the statement, this is only the latest effort to bring all of Facebook’s apps and products closer together. CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, had on many occasions announced plans to integrate all the company’s messaging services.

The president of the group, Marcus, explained that with users making more purchases across Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, the company’s advertising revenue is expected to grow. This is bearing in mind that users would be spending more time in the apps.

The top priority to be handled by the group is activating the payment solutions in India and Brazil, where regulations have stalled the company’s efforts to make WhatsApp a foremost destination for commerce.

READ MORE: Facebook brings digital payment to WhatsApp, begins test-run in Brazil

The Backstory: While presenting the company’s Q2 2020 results in July, Zuckerberg had expressed his excitement about the commercial aspect of the company’s messaging apps, saying that the trend will likely grow as payment options are rolled out in the company’s apps.

Note that the head of the new group, Marcus, is a payments expert who joined Facebook in 2014 from PayPal Holdings Inc. where he was president. He ran Facebook Messenger for four years before he was appointed to take charge of Libra and get the cryptocurrency running for cross border payments.

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Twitter shows interest in buying TikTok

TikTok has come under fire from US lawmakers over national security concerns surrounding data collection.

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Twitter shows interest in buying TikTok, Twitter warns political figures to abstain from fake, misleading statements  

Twitter has now reached out to TikTok owner, ByteDance, showing interest in buying the US operations of the video-sharing app, private sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

It, however, looks like a herculean task for Twitter in outbidding Microsoft, and concluding the megadeal deal in 45 days, as directed by US President, Donald Trump.

READ ALSO: Facebook is considering paying media outlets for news tab

The odds against Twitter:

Twitter has a market capitalization of around $30 billion, almost as much as the same valuation of TikTok’s US operation. What this means, therefore, is that Twitter will need to raise additional funds before the deal could see the light of day.

“Twitter will have a hard time putting together enough financing to acquire even the U.S. operations of TikTok. It doesn’t have enough borrowing capacity,” said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan.

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“If it (Twitter) tries to put together an investor group, the terms will be tough. Twitter’s own shareholders might prefer that management focus on its existing business,” he added.

READ MORE: Tiktok’s In-App revenue surges amid lockdown

However, one of Twitter’s major shareholders, private equity firm Silver Lake, is interested in supporting Twitter in part for the required funds needed to pull the deal through, one of the sources to Reuters added.

“Twitter has also privately made a case that its bid would face less regulatory scrutiny than Microsoft’s, and will not face any pressure from China given that it is not active in that country,” the sources said.

ByteDance, Twitter, and TikTok declined to comment.

TikTok has come under fire from US lawmakers over national security concerns surrounding data collection.

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Some days ago, Nairametrics reported about Microsoft’s offer to acquire TikTok’s U.S operation, following the recent escalation of President Trump’s attacks on TikTok and other Chinese tech firms.

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Facebook, Microsoft lash out at Apple over gaming apps

Microsoft and Facebook facing challenges in bringing cloud gaming services on iOS devices.

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Apple iPhone 11, Tax battle: Apple challenges $14 billion court case , Apple to pay $500 million settlement in lawsuit over slow iPhones, Apple supplier Foxconn to reopen manufacturing base in China, Apple donates 10 million face masks to healthcare workers, App developers can now challenge Apple store guidelines 

The world’s leading technology brands, Facebook and Microsoft, recently bashed Apple for its restrictive App Store policies, which they claim prevents them from launching their gaming services on Apple devices.

Microsoft also disclosed that it will no longer be launching a limited testing version of the app on iOS. The gaming platform Microsoft had created for Apple devices can only support one game, which Microsoft said was due to Apple’s App Store policies.

READ MORE: Apple, Facebook record impressive earning results in spite of COVID-19 disruptions

Microsoft’s concern

Microsoft revealed that such policies set by Apple will make it unable to launch its game streaming service commercially on iOS due to these limitations.

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“Unfortunately, we do not have a path to bring our vision of cloud gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to gamers on iOS via the Apple App Store,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement Friday.

“Apple stands alone as the only general-purpose platform to deny consumers from cloud gaming and game subscription services like Xbox Game Pass. And it consistently treats gaming apps differently, applying more lenient rules to non-gaming apps even when they include interactive content.”

READ ALSO: Facebook rivals TikTok with launch of video-sharing product inside instagram

Facebook’s concern

The social media giant finally struggled to launch an Apple version of its gaming app on Friday, but it disclosed that it was compelled to make a concession to bring it on Apple’s App Store and had to remove the ability to play games instantly.

“Unfortunately, we had to remove gameplay functionality entirely in order to get Apple’s approval on the standalone Facebook Gaming app – meaning iOS users have an inferior experience to those using Android,” Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement Friday.

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“We’re staying focused on building communities for the more than 380 million people who play games on Facebook every month — whether Apple allows it in a standalone app or not.”

Microsoft and Facebook seem not to be the only ones facing challenges in bringing cloud gaming services on iOS devices. Google’s Stadia and Nvidia’s GeForce had also experienced difficulties in launching iOS versions of their apps due to the App Store’s guidelines.

READ MORE: Apple unveils a new credit card, Apple Card

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Will Apple cave in?

“There is quite a lot of pressure building from different entities, and they are attempting to build consumer awareness of the issues involved as a way to convince Apple to change its policies,” Piers Harding-Rolls, research director of games at Ampere Analysis, told CNBC.

“Is it inevitable that Apple will cave in? Not necessarily. Apple is plowing its own path with privacy and how it wants to manage its ecosystem.”

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