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American streaming company Netflix talks about its plans for Africa

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American streaming company Netflix talks about opportunities for local filmmakers, subscribers in Nigeria and its budget.

For a while, it looked like Africa was not a part of Netflix’s plan for global content domination. This changed when it made its way to Africa for the first time in 2016.

After launching in all 54 African countries, Netflix showed the first hint of interest in original African content when it advertised for a director of content acquisition for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa. This was earlier in May.

This was soon followed by news of the acquisition of Netflix’s first original film from Nigeria - Genevieve Nnaji’s comedy “Lionheart” - for an undisclosed amount. Then Netflix announced its plans to invest in the African film industry by ordering local original series from next year.

In this interview, Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa talks with the American streaming company about its plan for Nigeria, Africa, opportunities for local filmmakers, subscribers and its budget.

Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa (BI SSA): As Netflix is fast-growing on the African continent, what are the opportunities filmmakers stand to gain from the streaming service?

NETFLIX: We believe that great storytelling comes from everywhere in the world and from many distinctive voices. The African continent presents opportunities both for Netflix and filmmakers and we are actively searching for fresh differentiated stories from the African continent. We have licensed the Nigerian film Lionheart as a global original which will be coming to the service in January 2019.

BI SSA: What is the percentage of Netflix subscribers in Nigeria and the rest of the continent?

NET: We are happy with the interest from members since the launch. We do not release subscriber numbers for specific regions. Netflix reaches 130 million members in over 190 countries all around the world.

BI SSA: Are there any particular production companies or filmmakers, scriptwriters or actresses and actors the streaming service is interested in working with?

NET: We have already started working with creatives from the African continent such as filmmaker Kagiso Lediga. We will also be working with South African actress, Pearl Thusi, who will star as Queen Sono, in our first Netflix Original Series in Africa.

BI SSA: Are you looking at having a physical presence in Nigeria or any part of Africa anytime soon considering its potential film industry?

NET: There are no plans set as yet. We are following the local industry closely and focusing more on content rather than physical presence.

BI SSA: According to a Variety report, 85% of your $13 billion budget will be spent on original content, how much of this will Netflix be spending in Nigeria specifically since Nollywood is the biggest film industry in the continent?

NET: In 2018 we expect to spend close to $8 billion all over the globe. We do not release specifics for any one territory.

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Twitter confirms Trump’s ban will remain forever even if he runs again in 2024

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Twitter confirms Trump’s ban will remain forever even if he runs again in 2024

Former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter ban will remain forever, even if he runs for president again in 2024, a top company official said on Wednesday February 10.

During an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Twitter’s chief financial officer, Ned Segal, was asked if the platform would restore Trump’s account if he ran again and was elected president.

In his reply, Segal said the ban is permanent, even if he ever becomes president again.

“The way our policies work, when you’re removed from the platform, you’re removed from the platform whether you’re a commentator, you’re a CFO or you are a former or current public official,” Segal said.

“Our policies are designed to make sure that people are not inciting violence, and if anybody does that, we would have to remove them from the service and our policies don’t allow people to come back.”

“So, no?,” Squawk Box host Rebecca Quick pressed.

“He was removed when he was president, and there’d be no difference for anybody who [was] a public official once they’ve been removed from the service,” Segal responded.

Mr. Segal also confirmed that the rules would apply to any public official that was banned from the service for similar reasons to Mr. Trump.

The republican politician was banned from Twitter last month following the deadly Jan. 6 riots that interrupted Congress’ certification of President Biden’s electoral college win.

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International police takes down ‘world’s most dangerous’ malware network

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Law enforcement authorities across several countries have taken down a network of what they describe as the “world’s most dangerous malware.”

The malware, Emotet, gained access to users’ computers through infected email attachments, including documents purporting to be “invoices, shipping notices and information about Covid-19,” European police agency Europol, which coordinated the effort, said in a statement Wednesday.

“The Emotet infrastructure essentially acted as a primary door opener for computer systems on a global scale,” Europol said. “Once this unauthorised access was established, these were sold to other top-level criminal groups to deploy further illicit activities such as data theft and extortion.”

The global effort to disrupt and take control of the compromised network, known as a botnet, was carried out jointly between eight countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. The network consisted of several hundred servers across the world, Europol said.

An investigation by Dutch police yielded a database of email addresses, passwords and usernames that were compromised by Emotet. Users can check whether their email addresses were breached through this link.

The malware saw a resurgence last year, according to the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which described “a significant increase in malicious cyber actors targeting state and local governments” with Emotet phishing emails. “This increase has rendered Emotet one of the most prevalent ongoing threats,” CISA added.

Europol urged internet users to update their device’s antivirus tools and exercise greater caution to avoid falling prey to malware attacks.

Users should carefully check their email and avoid opening messages and especially attachments from unknown senders,” it said. “If a message seems too good to be true, it likely is and emails that implore a sense of urgency should be avoided at all costs.”

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Facebook to stop recommending civic and political groups

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Facebook will stop recommending users join “civic and political” groups, as it tries to reduce the number of political posts in people’s feeds.

It follows weeks of suppressing such content around the US election but will now become permanent policy around the world.

Mark Zuckerberg announced the change in a phone call with investors.

“People don’t want politics and fighting to take over,” the Facebook boss told those on the call.

It remains unclear what “civic groups” covers, and how the change could affect grassroots campaigning.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company was “still fine tuning” the policy and how it would work in the UK.

The decision follows months of pressure over the spread of misinformation on Facebook.

And Mr Zuckerberg said it wanted “to make sure the communities people connect with are healthy and positive”.

“There are also a lot of groups that we may not want to encourage people to join, even if they don’t violate our policies,” he said.

“Now, we plan to keep civic and political groups out of recommendations for the long term.”

This was “a continuation of work we’ve been doing for a while to turn down the temperature and discourage divisive conversations and communities”, Mr Zuckerberg said.

Facebook groups are often used for legitimate community organising and grassroots campaigns, however, something Mr Zuckerberg “want[s] to be able to keep happening”.

“But one of the top pieces of feedback we’re hearing from our community right now is that people don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services,” he added.

Facebook banned more than one million groups in 2020.

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