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Facebook has announced that it is opening its first office in Africa, located in Johannesburg, South Africa, in a move that it hopes will strengthen its presence in developing markets.

The purpose of the office will be to encourage businesses across the continent to advertise on Facebook. The company is enlisting the help of governments, telecom operators, agencies and other stakeholders to help drive the effort.

Given that more than 80pc of Facebook users in Africa access the social network from a mobile phone, it is important that ads are optimised for this format, and the type of network connection being used, if they are to be effective.

Facebook claims that the new African sales team, led by Nunu Ntshingila-Njeke, who previously helped build Ogilvy’s network in Sub Saharan Africa, will help advertisers create and deliver ads that will appeal to customers across the continent.

The sales team in Africa will focus initially on countries in Sub Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

“We are committed to creating solutions tailored to people, businesses and specifically for African markets,” said Ari Kesisoglu, regional director for Facebook in the Middle East and Africa.

“Our priority for the next few months is to continue the work we are already doing with some clients in this region. We will work more closely with businesses and agencies to understand the challenges, so that we can build solutions that help grow their business.”

With more than a billion people, Africa holds vast potential for Facebook. The number of active users in Africa has grown 20pc between September 2014 and June 2015, from 100m to 120m.

The company expects this growth to continue as the cost of data services decreases and more people upgrade from basic feature phones to smartphones that are capable of running its full mobile app.

Facebook described the opening of its new office as “the first step in furthering our investment in Africa and its people”. However, the company has been investing in technology products for the region for some time.

In 2013, Facebook launched Internet.org, a global partnership with Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung, that aims to make internet access available to the two-thirds of the world that are not yet connected.

The first product to come out of the Internet.org partnership last year was amobile app that allows people in developing countries to access basic web services for free over their mobile network.

The app launched first in Zambia and has since rolled out in Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Colombia and parts of India. It allows users to browse a set of health, employment and local information services without data charges.

These include AccuWeather, BBC News, Facebook, Messenger, Google Search, Wikipedia, Facts for Life and UNICEF, as well as a number of locally-specific apps such as Go Zambia Jobs and India Today.

By providing free basic services via the app, Facebook says it hopes to bring more people online and help them discover valuable services they might not have otherwise.

As well as the app, the Internet.org partnership is also looking at providing internet access from the sky in places that are currently unconnected, using drones, satellites and lasers.

In March, it emerged that Facebook was testing solar-powered drones, developed by Somerset-based company Ascenta, to beam down laser-guided internet signals to those below.

The drones have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 but weigh less than a car, and solar panels attached to the wings mean that they will be able to keep going at altitudes of 60,000 ft for months at a time.

Facebook says this will bring online connectivity to remote locations, previously inaccessible, for the first time.

The ultimate aim of all of these efforts to improve internet access in Africa is, of course, to bring Facebook more advertising revenue.

Over half of Facebook’s total ad revenue came from outside the US and Canada in the first quarter of 2015, and mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 73pc of Facebook’s ad revenue.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in February that advertising to Internet.org users was not an immediate priority, claiming that the ad market was still small in many developing countries.

However, Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told The Telegraph in March that the company was already working with some businesses to help them deliver ads to people in South Africa and Kenya via the company’s Creative Accelerator programme.

Facebook also offers tools for advertisers to target these users. For example, ‘Missed Call’ allows a person to place a ‘missed call’ in return for unique content such as music or cricket scores, alongside a brand message from the advertiser.

Bandwidth Targeting also enables advertisers to reach people based on the type of network connection they usually use when accessing the Internet, so that video ads are not sent to users with 2G connections, for example.

“One of the things that we do is work with agencies and marketers to show what best practice looks like and how they can target people in the right way that can deliver return on their business for them,” Mendelsohn said at the time.

“That’s the thing that we care about – we care about what is the return we can give to marketers and business by using the platform.”

source:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/facebook/11707515/Why-is-Facebook-opening-an-office-in-Africa.html

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Facebook paid users to track smartphone use

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Facebook paid users, including teens, to track their smartphone activity as part of an effort to glean more data that could help the social network’s competition efforts, according to a new report that may raise fresh privacy concerns.

An investigation by the online news site TechCrunch said the effort, which had been known as the Onavo Project and later rebaptized as Facebook Research, was used to gather data on usage habits.

The news could be a further embarrassment for Facebook, which has been under heightened scrutiny over failing to crack down on manipulation of its platform and for sharing private data with its business partners.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook said it shut down the application on Apple’s iOS on Wednesday after the article was published, but apparently kept it active for Android users.

The report said the initial Onavo app was shuttered for violating Apple’s privacy policy and that the newer version may also contravene Apple’s terms.

The program paid users ages 13 to 35 up to $20 a month for “root” access to their devices to track their location, app usage, spending habits and other activity.

According to a statement to TechCrunch, Facebook claimed there was nothing secret about the effort and that it obtained parental consent for teens where required.

Facebook did not immediately respond to further requests for comment.

The project may have allowed Facebook to scoop up more data about younger users as it fends off a challenge from rival services like Snapchat, which has become more popular than Facebook among US teens.

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Instagram is down for some users (FB)

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It’s not clear exactly how many people are affected, or what’s causing the outage. Business Insider has reached out to the Facebook-owned photo sharing app for more information.

The app’s news feed is refusing to refresh for some users, while the homepage on desktop won’t load.

Down Detector, a website that tracks outages of popular websites, reported a spike in users saying Instagram was down on Monday, with particular hotspots on both coasts of the United States and the UK.

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INSTAGRAM READY TO GIVE INFLUENCERS AND CELEBS SPECIALIZED TOOLS VIA CREATOR ACCOUNTS

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Instagram plans to offer high-profile influencers special tools that will provide them with a deeper insight into various data regarding their followers. These tools will be delivered in the form of Creator Accounts, which will only be available to select Instagram users (i.e. influencers, celebs).

An Instagram official recently told The Hollywood Reporter that the company wishes to make sure that “Instagram is the best place, and easiest place, to build fan communities and also build creators. personal brands.”

These creator accounts are meant to function like business-focused profiles and will offer growth insights, including information about follows and unfollows. Influencers will also be able to see weekly and daily data about their followers count changes so that they can better understand what might have caused a decline in their fan base or a spike in new followers.

Also, direct messaging tools that will enable Instagram users to filter notes from brand partners and friends will be available as well. Furthermore, influencers will be allowed to choose how they want to be contacted via flexible labels.

According to Instagram. these new features are being tested with a small beta group at the moment, but they are expected to be rolled out to everyone sometime in 2019.

 

 

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