2 Billion People Connected To Facebook

Facebook active users have reached two billion monthly, the social platform giant announced on Tuesday.

The milestone was reached as founder Mark Zuckerberg highlighted his new mission — not just connecting people, but helping them find common ground.

“As of this morning, the Facebook community is now officially 2 billion people!” Zuckerberg wrote in a post marking the milestone.

“We’re making progress connecting the world, and now let’s bring the world closer together,” he wrote. “It’s an honor to be on this journey with you.”

Facebook’s announcement came as it works to redefine its purpose, led by Zuckerberg who toured the US this year to better understand what people want out of the social network.

“We realize that we need to do more too,” the 33-year-old said in a recent interview with CNN Tech.

“It’s important to give people a voice, to get a diversity of opinions out there, but on top of that, you also need to do this work of building common ground so that way we can all move forward together.”

The firm’s new mission statement says it seeks “to give people the power to build community.”

Zuckerberg’s message was echoed by Naomi Gleit, a vice president at the internet giant, who credited the millions of small communities emerging within Facebook for helping drive growth.

More than a billion people take part each month in Facebook “groups” — built around everything from sporting interests to humanitarian projects, she said in an online post on Tuesday.

For Gartner analyst Brian Blau, Facebook appears to be striving to become “more of a community company than a technology company.”

He noted that Facebook’s role in last year’s contentious US election — during which social networks were awash in misinformation — may have been a motivating factor.

Founded in 2004, the social media behemoth hit the billion-user mark five years ago.

“These billion levels are significant milestones; and certainly it is a lot of people around the planet,” said Blau. “It goes to show the power of community, and how people are naturally drawn to each other.”

In the latest move to deepen its reach, it revealed Monday it is starting production on high-quality television series and gaming shows to be broadcast on its platform.

Working with a small group of partners, Facebook hopes to start putting out episodes of its forthcoming series by the end of the summer, Nick Grudin, the vice president for media partnerships, told AFP.

Facebook’s initiative follows similar moves by Netflix, Amazon and the online television platform Hulu — a joint venture by Disney, Comcast, 21st Century and Time Warner — who have thrown themselves into content production, as have YouTube and Apple, although on a more modest scale.

Reported by AFP

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Facebook Introduces More Controls In Audience Network

Facebook will, over the next few months, launch additional controls for advertisers using Audience Network, Instant Articles and In-Stream Ads. It will also make existing controls easier to use.

Ads in Instant Articles and In-Stream Ads on Facebook and Audience Network let advertisers connect with people across several different experiences.

Facebook already provide advertisers with several controls, including the ability to opt-out of Instant Articles, Audience Network and in-stream ads on Facebook. They can also exclude delivery of their ads to sensitive categories, like dating and gambling. If advertisers want to use a more granular control, they can upload block lists of publishers & apps.

The additional controls include:

Pre-Campaign Transparency: Facebook will begin offering upfront, publisher-level transparency across the Audience Network, Instant Articles and in-stream ads on Facebook. For the first time, advertisers will be able to see a list of where their ads could potentially deliver prior to setting a campaign live. Facebook is currently testing this with a select group of advertisers who are running ads on Audience Network within the video views objective. This test will help the company build the right product with the goal of extending it to all advertisers, all objectives, Instant Articles and in-stream ads on Facebook later this year.

Blocking at the Account Level: To make the block process even easier, advertisers will be able to apply their block lists at the account level instead of having to log-in to each specific campaign or set of ads. This will help advertisers make their lists consistent across potentially hundreds of campaigns and thousands of creatives. Starting next month, Facebook will roll out this control to Audience Network and Instant Articles. Later this year, the company plans to extend it to in-stream ads on Facebook.

Choice Over Video Placements in Audience Network: Facebook will start to allow advertisers to specify the types of placements, (e.g. in-stream or native and interstitial), they want their video campaigns to run in through a simple opt-out format. As part of their commitment to businesses, Facebook will continue to provide more transparency, controls and a premium experience across Audience Network, Instant Articles and in-stream ads on its platform.

Facebook looks forward to working with advertisers to build the tools they need to be successful across these placements.

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Facebook To Update Safety Check With New Features

In order to build a safe community, Facebook will be announcing today new updates to Safety Check to make it an even more relevant and useful experience in times of crisis.

Facebook’s Safety Check has notified people that their families and friends are safe more than a billion times across the world. As part of their ongoing commitment to build a safe community, Facebook will announce several updates to Safety Check

Introducing Fundraisers in Safety Check: Following a crisis, one way people give and request help is through fundraising. To make this easier, Facebook is introducing Fundraisers in Safety Check.  Within Safety Check, people will be able to create or donate to a fundraiser for charitable and personal causes to help those in need. Fundraising provides a way for people who are also outside of the crisis area to offer help. Fundraisers in Safety Check will start to roll out in the coming weeks in the US.

Expanding Community Help: Since the launch of Community Help earlier this year on iOS and Android, Facebook has been inspired by the offers and requests for help generated by the community and want to make sure that those in need are able to access Community Help through any platform. Community Help will be available in the upcoming weeks on desktop, giving people another way to access the tool. Additionally, Community Help is now available for all crises where Safety Check is activated.

Adding more context with a personal note: After marking themselves safe, people will be able to share additional information to help reassure friends they are safe and provide more context about the crisis. To make this easier, users can now add a personal note to tell their friends more about what’s happening from within the Safety Check tool. This note will appear in the News Feed story that is automatically generated when people mark themselves safe.

Introducing crisis descriptions: When people receive Safety Check notifications, they may have limited information about the crisis. To help provide additional context on crises and make sure people have the information that they need, Facebook has started adding descriptions about the crisis from NC4, a trusted third party global crisis reporting agency.

Helping to keep the community safer means everything to Facebook as it hopes that these updates to Safety Check continue to do just that.

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Facebook Introduces Subtitles On Live To Enhance User Experience

As part of its commitment to making it accessible to everyone, Facebook is enabling users to include closed captions in Facebook Live, helping people who are deaf and hard of hearing to experience Live videos.

Now, if your captioning settings are turned on, you will automatically see closed captions on Live broadcasts when they are available.

Over the past year, daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts has grown by more than 4 times, and 1 in 5 Facebook videos is a Live broadcast. By enabling publishers to include closed captions with their Live broadcasts, more people can now participate in the exciting moments that unfold on Live.

Today’s milestone represents the next step in efforts to make content on Facebook accessible to more people. It is already possible to add captions to non-live videos when uploading them to Facebook Pages, and publishers can use Facebook’s speech recognition service to automatically generate captions for videos on their Pages.

 

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Facebook Chooses 60 Finalists In Bots For Messenger Developer Challenge

Facebook has selected 60 finalists from the hundreds of entries it received from across the Middle East and Africa for the Bots for Messenger Developer Challenge. The Bots for Messenger Challenge is a contest to recognise and reward developers who create the most innovative new bots on Messenger.

Developers, in teams of up to three people, were invited to create bots in three categories: gaming and entertainment; productivity and utility; and social good.

The 60 finalist teams (10 per category in Middle East/North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa) each won a Gear VR and mobile phone, one hour of Facebook mentorship, and tools and services from FbStart (https://Developers.Facebook.com/fbstart), a Facebook program designed to help early stage mobile start-ups build and grow their bots. All student teams who made it to the finals won an additional $2,000.

Facebook will contact the finalists and connect them with a mentor. They will need to resubmit their bots before midnight (GMT) on June 2 to qualify to win. For each region, three runner-up teams (one from each category) will win $10,000 and three months of Facebook mentorship. For each region, three winning teams (one from each category) will win $20,000 and three months of Facebook mentorship.

The 60 finalist teams and their bots can be viewed here: https://MessengerChallenge.Splashthat.com

Says Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s Head of Platform Partnerships for the Middle East and Africa: “Facebook grew out of a hacker culture and thrives by promoting innovation on new platforms. That’s why we launched the Bots for Messenger Challenge, with the aim of rewarding entrepreneurs and developers for harnessing the power of bots to create amazing new services and apps.

“We were overwhelmed to receive more than 1,000 entries over two and a half months for the Bots for Messenger Challenge from developers and entrepreneurs across the Middle East and Africa—each one of them solving a problem in an inventive way or enriching the lives of its target user.”

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Facebook Crashes In Large Parts of Australia, US And Asia

Global social networking giant Facebook crashed on all platforms in parts of Australia, Asia and the US on Tuesday.

Millions of social media users took to Twitter to report issues accessing the multi-billion dollar network.

Facebook was reported as going down across large chunks of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, India, and the US, according to website downdetector.com.

While the reason for the crash is unknown, DownDetector said that of the 254 issues reported, 59 per cent said they experienced a total blackout while 36 per cent said they were having issues logging into the site.

And the remaining four per cent said the problems were related to pictures.

When users tried to log in to the site, they were met with an error message, that read: ‘Sorry, something went wrong.

‘We’re working on it and we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can.’

The issues have now been resolved and the site is working again, although Facebook has not commented on what the problem was.

Social media was quickly lit up with humorous messages from users unable to cope with the crash.

Daily Mail

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Facebook Introduces ‘Blueprint Certification’ For Advertisers And Marketers

Facebook has announced the launch of Blueprint Certification, a global credentialing program for digital advertising professionals created to get the most out of the social media giant’s powerful marketing platform.

This certification helps digital professionals differentiate themselves in a competitive job market, providing the advertising industry with a better understanding of Facebook ads to help maximize ROI and give businesses a way to select and retain people with expertise in the Facebook family of products and services.

Blueprint Certification is not only the most rigorous and reliable measure of Facebook advertising competency; it is also the only one officially recognized.

“Facebook is committed to helping all marketers succeed using Facebook and Instagram marketing solutions with our Blueprint e-learning platform, and through new education opportunities like Blueprint Certification,” says Katherine Shappley, SMB Regional Director, North America at Facebook. “We continue to look for innovative ways to help small businesses grow by connecting them with new people – around the corner or around the world.”

As the most advanced-level program, Blueprint Certification demonstrates expertise across the Facebook family of products and services, including advertising on Instagram and Messenger.

With over one million course enrolments, Blueprint has helped marketing professionals and people from businesses of all sizes succeed through Blueprint e-learning modules and from the hands-on training at Blueprint live.

In 2015, Facebook launched the Blueprint e-learning platform to help marketers around the world succeed by providing the tools and training needed to learn how Facebook and Instagram can help grow their business.

With 3 million active advertisers on Facebook and over 60 million Pages, Facebook wants to ensure that all advertisers have the opportunity to better drive value for their business through Facebook’s advertising products.

How Blueprint Certification works

There are currently two certification paths available; the Facebook  Certified Planning Professional and the Facebook Certified Buying Professional.

Once an individual has selected their certification path, they’ll have the opportunity to prepare for and take two secure, proctored exams – the Facebook Advertising Core Competencies exam, and then the exam in their chosen specialty.

These exams have been designed to rigorously measure advanced-level competency in understanding and applying the skills required for the associated job roles. In most cases the exams can be taken with an online proctor in the convenience and privacy of one’s office or home.

Once the exams are passed, the individual will receive a digital badge that can be uniquely verified online by anyone they choose to share it with. The Blueprint Certification badge can be posted on Facebook and other social media, embedded in a website or blog or include it in an email signature or electronic résumé.

Recertification requirements must be completed annually to demonstrate ongoing proficiency and maintain certification status as the Facebook family of products and services continues to evolve.

Blueprint Certification is now available worldwide. All exams are initially available in English, with other languages rolling out as they become available.

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Meet The Brilliant Nigerians Working With Mark Zuckerberg At Facebook

It’s no longer news that the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg is in Lagos, Nigeria.

His first stop was the Co-Creation Hub, in Yaba where he watched children learning to code and interacted with at least 50 local startup founders and developers.

More impressively, he trekked over 2km through the streets of Yaba to get to Andela, the talent accelerator he recently invested $24 million in.

But if there’s anything most exciting about Mark Zuckerberg’s surprise visit, it’s the fact that he chose Nigeria as his first destination in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is more than enough validation for the Nigerian technology ecosystem

Without a doubt, Mark Zuckerberg is beginning to take Nigeria seriously. But that didn’t happen suddenly. You’ll find proof  in the increasing number of Nigerians on his payroll.

Chukwuemeka Afigbo

chukwuemeka-afigbo

Chukwuemeka Afigbo joined Facebook from Google, where he served until 2015 before being replaced by Aniedi Udo-Obong.

Afigbo currently manages Strategic Product Partnerships for Facebook in Sub-Saharan Africa and has been instrumental in Mark Zuckerberg’s Nigeria tour.

Ime Archibong

Facebook-Ime-Archibong-Fire-Side-Chat-Free-Basic

Ime Archibong is the Director, Strategic Partnerships at Facebook, where he leads a team working to connect Facebook’s products and strategies with various business partners.

Archibong and his team have worked on everything related to Facebook including the Messenger app. Prior to joining Facebook, Ime was an Advanced Technology Business Development Professional at IBM.

Nmachi Jidenma

jidenma

Nmachi Jidenma manages Payments and Commerce Partnerships for Facebook Global, right from the heart of San Francisco Bay Area.

With previous experiences working at PayPal, Google and JP Morgan, she also happens to be the founder of CPAfrica.

Ebele Okobi

ebele-okobi

Ebele Okobi has headed Public Policy for Facebook in Africa for the past 2 years. She was the former Global Head & Senior Legal Director, Human Rights for Yahoo!

Laurence Aderemi

laurence-aderemi

Laurence Aderemi built Moni, a person-to-person money transfer app, which won the 2013 edition of Start with e-novation.

Apparently, his competence got the attention of Mark Zuckerberg, who hired him to head Payments and Commerce Partnerships for Facebook Global.

Morin Oluwole

morin-oluwole

Having been raised in Nigeria but lived in 3 continents, Morin Oluwole is a polyglot — she speaks about 5 languages. This is probably why she sealed a role as the Chief of Staff, VP Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook.

UPDATE 1: Morin Oluwole has since taken up a new position as the Luxury Vertical Lead for Facebook/Instagram.

Lauryn (Hale) Ogbechie

Lauryn Ogbechie (L)

Lauryn Ogbechie (L)

Lauryn Ogbechie leads a Strategic Partnership team within Facebook’s Global Platform Partnerships organisation in Menlo Park, CA. In this role she partners with mobile developers to help them build, grow and monetise their apps through the integration of Facebook platform products.

Prior to Facebook, Ogbechie worked as a digital organiser for President Obama’s re-election campaign.

Francis Ebong

francis-ebong

Francis Ebong joined Facebook in November 2015 where he has since acted in the capacity of Director, Online Operations. Francis is a graduate of The George Washington University.

Teniola Adedipe

Teniola Adedipe (L). Source: Bella Naija

Teniola Adedipe (L). Source: Bella Naija

Prior to joining Facebook, Teniola Adedipe served in two capacities within Konga, in the space of 14 months. She started out as the Head, Merchandise Planning in January 2014, she then went on to become Associate Director, Retail Operations.

Teniola Adedipe is now the Program Manager, Deal Desk & Global Agency at Facebook, New York City area.

Monica Ugwi

Monica Ugwi

Still relatively new at the company, Monica Ugwi works with the Product Operations division of Facebook. Prior to that, she was an Engagement Manager for McKinsey & Company and an Analyst at Goldman Sachs.

A graduate of Computer Science, Ugwi also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Ibrahim Shekoni

ibrahem

Ibrahim Sekoni is Facebook’s Product Specialist at San Francisco Bay Area. His previous experience no doubt played a huge role in blending him into Facebook.

Prior to joining Facebook, he was the Mobile Product Manager at optionXpress where he managed the top-rated mobile trading App across multiple Mobile platforms. He also worked as a Business Analyst at Phoenix bits LTD overseeing various operations. He joined Facebook in April 2015.

Olaoluwa Okelola

ola2

Olaoluwa Okelola is one of the few Nigerian-born software engineers at Facebook.

Having completed his secondary education at the International School Ibadan, Okelola proceeded to Avi-Cenna International School and Howard University, Washington DC, to complete his secondary and university education respectively. He then joined Microsoft as Explorer Intern in January 2005 and left in August the same year for Google where he worked as an Engineering intern from May 2006 until August 2006.

Okelola joined Facebook in 2007 and has been there ever since.

UPDATE 2: All post-publication updates are below. The total number of Nigerians on the list is now 18


Barbara Mbanefo

barbara-mbanefo

Barbara Mbanefo is another Nigerian-born software Engineer at Facebook, where she develops iOS applications that help businesses connect with their customers.

Mbanefo completed her primary and secondary education in Nigeria before proceeding to France to obtain her Masters degree in Software Engineering. She speaks French fluently. Prior to joining Facebook in May 2016, Mbanefo worked as a Software Engineer and a Mobile App User Experience Designer in France, Canada and Hollywood, California

Kunbi Adeyemo

kunbi-adeyemo

Kunbi Adeyemo has served in two capacities at Facebook. Between 2013 and 2014, she was on the Facebook North America Small and Medium Business Team as a Customer Insights Analyst.

In December 2014, Adeyemo moved up to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she has since served as Facebook’s Diversity Programs Manager – Women in Computer Science.

Isaac Nwokocha

isaac

After obtaining a First Class degree in Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2010, Isaac Nwokocha tried his hands out on entrepreneurship; he co-founded two startups, including real-time road traffic web app,TrafficDey.

Probably deciding he had had enough of entrepreneurship, Nwokocha proceeded to Stanford for a Master’s Degree in Management Science and Engineering. No sooner had he completed his Masters Degree than he secured a role as a Product Data Integrity, Community Operations/Project Manager at Facebook.

Michael Awotedu

michael-awotedu

Armed with an MBA in Finance (summa cum laude) from the University of Tampa John H. Sykes College of Business, Michael Awotedu works in Risk Program Management at Facebook where he helps to facilitate strategy, and execution for Risk Management on products like FB games, Oculus VR and Ads.

Prior to Facebook, Awotedu oversaw Risk Management for Walmart’s $30 billion check cashing portfolio.

PS: I happen to know Michael Awotedu personally, as he hails from my alma mater — Federal Government College, Odogbolu (I couldn’t resist the temptation to let you in on that).

Jane Okpala

jane-okpala

With almost 10 years of strategic, analytical, negotiating, presentation, and management expertise, Jane Okpala is the Product Specialist (Social Good and Goodwill), Community Operations, at Facebook.

A polyglot in her own right — she speaks at least 4 languages — Okpala worked previously as an Associate at McKinsey & Company where she served mainly technology and financial institution clients on a wide variety of analytical and strategic engagements

Dayo Olopade

dayo-olopade

Dayo Olopade started her career as a journalist Washington, covering the 2008 campaign and the Obama era for publications including The Atlantic, The Guardian and The Washington Post.

Nowadays, Olopade applies her wealth of journalistic experience on the Facebook Media Partnerships Team, where she helps publishers take advantage of Facebook, from a business and product perspective. She maintains a painstakingly detailed personal website.

Credit: TechPoint

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Facebook Partners Coollink To Launch Express WiFi In Lagos

According to this report, Facebook is partnering Coollink, a Lagos based Internet Service Provider (ISP), to launch Express WiFi in Lagos.

Express WiFi is a Facebook initiative to bring Internet connectivity to underserved locations around the world.

It does this through partnership with local entrepreneurs to help provide quality Internet access to their neighbours and make a steady income.

Working with local Internet service providers or mobile operators, these entrepreneurs are able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities.

Express WiFi in Lagos will enable users surf websites on Free basics for free. However, they’ll have to pay for more browsing activity.

For as little as ?40, they can get up to 100MB daily, or ?1,600 for a 5GB monthly plan for extra surfing on a 10Mbps connection which is shared across all the users.

Other data plans include ?110 for 300MB for 24hrs; ?270 for 750MB for a week, ?700 for 2GB for 7 days, and ?1000 for 3GB for a month.

The service is expected to launch in some parts of Lagos, such as Ikota Shopping Complex, some time this week. Users can sign up for a 14 days free trial and enjoy free Internet for that perios – up to 100MB per day.

Express WiFi was first launched in India. It is part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative, which will bring Internet to millions who find it extremely difficult to get it.

Credit: TechLoy

 

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A Call On Nigerians To Boycott Facebook By Inibehe Effiong

In view of the rising dissent against Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook by Nigerians who are justifiably displeased with the decision of Facebook Management to show special attention and sympathy to France by asking its users to change their profile pictures and replace them with the flag of the French Republic as a mark of solidarity with France over the killing of about 129 on Friday night in Paris by terrorists.

Given our discontent that Facebook has NEVER showed similar concern to Nigeria despite all the killings and attacks carried out by Boko Haram, I am calling on all Nigerians to boycott Facebook for just 24 hours.

This will send a strong message to Facebook and the rest of the world that Nigerians are not only good at talking. Let us take our protest to another level by staying away from Facebook for a day.

I hereby propose Tuesday 17th November, 2015 for the protest. All those wishing to be part of this protest should not directly or indirectly access their Facebook account between the hours of 12 midnight on Monday 16th November, 2015 to 12am on Wednesday 18th November, 2015.

I also propose the hashtag: #BoycottFacebookOnTuesday

Thank you.

Inibehe Effiong

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Bukola Saraki: The “Facebook” Senate President By Akorede Shakir

There is no valid objection to the fact that Nigeria, as a vast democratic nation with enormous tasks before her, has never experienced a full citizen-engaged parliament until this 16th year of its 4th Republic, exactly her centenary age. The most-talked-about 8th Senate since its inception on June 9 2015, till this eventful moment, has been marked by several distinguishing policies and actions that make the legislature somehow meeting up with requirements of the modern age. 

The man of the moment, Senate President Senator Bukola Saraki, made a pledge to Nigerians that his leadership of the Senate will introduce transparency by adopting and encouraging e-parliament system of legislature. This is a call that must never be allowed to slip off his mind. I must emphasize.
Before the emergence of Saraki, it would be recalled that the teeming Nigerians on social media have frowned severally at the closed-door-manner at which the National Assembly is ran by predecessors. It was largely believed that making legislative activities of the upper and lower chambers hidden from the citizens negates the core values of democracy. As an intellectual protest against this act, the emergence of social media campaigns like #OpenNASS, most particularly, erupted and trended inevitably on all social media platforms. The reaction of the then Senate President, Senator David Mark, was so ridiculous to show that the Senate, in the previous dispensations, doesn’t understand the significance of social media in building an accessible legislature. According to an opinion published by Vanguard Newspaper, operations of the National Assembly (Before Saraki) were shrouded in secrecy.
 

Differently however, Saraki who has tasked the Senate Committee on Rules and Business to develop an e-Parliamentary system that can be employed at Senate Plenary sessions to permit public contributions, demonstrated what has been described as unprecedented “legislature-citizenry interaction” before, during and after the Ministerial Screening process. There’re multitudinous feedbacks on Twitter that would remain as attestation to this.

In the pursuit of attaining an absolute transparency, Saraki urged Nigerians on his online pages to partner with the Senate by suggesting prospective policies that would further assist the government on deliverance of dividends of democracy. A week after, the Senate President reported that the Senate received thousands of e-mails with in-depth reports, according to his statement.
Even though it’s not agreeable that the whole of these is the height of what transparency is, it is totally not logical either to dispute that they’re practicable leaps towards it.
On this cause so far, it’s as if the Senate hasn’t taken any step yet, considering the amazing announcement by the Senate President that officials of that renowned social media platform, Facebook, would be led by their “Head of Public Policy for Facebook in Africa” to train Senators on holistic use of social media apps. 
 

This, as a matter of fact, has generated a lot of online controversies, even among social media users (myself inclusive) who have lauded the innovative ideas of the 8th Senate. Aside the reckless extravagance, it’s just too flabbergasting to hear that Nigerian Senators don’t know how to operate Facebook! Don’t they have Media Aides? Some have asked angrily and mockingly. In his collections of Twitter reactions nevertheless, the Facebook Senate President clarified that the training demands “no single kobo” from the government. 

If the disclaimer above could be true, one might agree with the statement by Mr. Bamikole Omishore, Special Assistant on New Media to the Senate President, that the decision is borne out of the wish to join the global community in the efficient way of using social media platforms to achieve modern e-legislature. “As a step in joining the global community in using the Social media platforms the right way, Head of Public Policy for Facebook in Africa will be coming to Nigeria with some of her colleagues to Train Nigerians Senators and their aides on effective use of the platform to engage Nigerians on formation of policies and to get undiluted feedback from their constituents” Omishore argued. 
 

Let me state emphatically at this juncture that not all Nigerian Senators, even though it is presumed that they can all operate online social media, make committed use of it. A senator that I will give privilege of anonymity had once said: “hanging online exposes you to uncontrollable cyber criticism, incessant attacks among other associated troubles.”  If truly it is the belief of many government officials that abstinence from online platforms is the only way to avoid public assessment, it should be said frankly that such ideology is not only obsolete, but also detrimental to the realization of common goals, especially in a country where public protest isn’t well encouraged like Nigeria.

Mandela is very right in his word that “it always seems impossible until it is done.” If the use of social media has the required potential to transform governance in our country by fast-tracking productive civic engagement and making our representatives more accessible and accountable, as well as bringing about job opportunities as most Senators could subsequently set up ICT centres after the training, I will, to this end, have no reservations in giving encouragements to the leadership of the National Assembly. 
 

Submissively, it should be re-iterated that there’s more to Facebook than posting pictures and passive posts, the use of its other integrated Apps is another world of ICT knowledge that’s worth learning. Without fear or favour therefore, the Facebook Senate President remains on track as far as revolutionizing the Senate is still the struggle.

God bless Nigeria!
Email: akorive001@gmail.com Twitter: @akorive001
 
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Benefits of Facebook Training to Senators And Their Aides By Bamikole Omishore

Social media is an integral part of governance and leaders worldwide have accepted the need to maintain a social presence in one or more of the media platform to engage the electorate and further increase the conversations about governance.

Few weeks ago, Head of Public Policy for Facebook in Africa  reached out to Senate President, Senator ABubakar Bukola Saraki A New Media Savvy individual to offer to help train Nigerian Senators and their aides on the effective use of the platform to build the communication gap between Nigerians and their legislators. 

lt is interesting to note that since the inauguration of the 8th Assembly, Nigerian Senate has actively maintained social media platforms majorly, Facebook and Twitter. (www.facebook.com/Nigeriansenate) and (@NGRSENATE) on twitter in order to bring le?islature closer to Nigerians.

As a step in joining the global community in using the Social media platforms the right way, Head of Public Policy for facebook in Africa will be coming to Nigeria with some of her collagues to Train Nigerians Senators and their aides on EFFECTIVE use of the platform to engage Nigerians on formation of POLICIES and to get undiluted feedback from their constituents.

Recall that over the past few years, Senator Saraki as a Senator was able to get direct unfiltered feedback from his constituents and Nigerians at large on issues that directly affect their lives. I remember vividly a few instances such as the Save Bagega Campaign, which was the issue of lead poisoning in Zamfara and also #SaveAlice in Lagos who was attacked by her foreign employers, just to name a few occasions where people on social media have been able to get in touch directly with him as a Senator to get him to champion issues.
Unfortunately,  Some elements have used the platform to defraud Nigerians by creating fake accounts that looks just like that of Senators and other public office holders to defraud unsuspecting Nigerians. This training will allow for verification by Facebook and also how training on effective use of this platform can help in delivering more people oriented bills to Nigerians and urgent interventions where necessary.
One of the impact I’m optimisic this innovation will have on the 8th Senate is that more Senators will be able to get direct feedback on what Bills and Motions their constituents want to see. As you know what we need in Ife East Local Government in Osun will be different from what you need IN Wammako local government in Sokoto.

For instance, last week Senate President released a message on Facebook on need for Nigerians to send recommendations of Bills and Motions they will like to see Senators introduced. We received thousands of emails which we are going through now to see which of the Bills we can develop. if we can have more Senators make proper use of this platform, I believe it will help to build the information gap and take the legislature back to the people.

The Senate President being a technology savvy individual himself does plan to run a more technology inclined chamber.  We hope to introduce E-parliament platform where Nigerians can track what will be discussed in the Senate, contributions of each Senator, A Bill Tracker to know where each bills currently stand and details of Bills and more engagement from the citizens which will help with their oversight functions.
The impact it will have on Plenary Sessions, as you are aware not all 109 Senators will always be able to put forward their position on every issue on the floor, As was the practise during the 7th Assembly where Senator Saraki will go on Facebook and other social media platforms to table his positions on issues, we hope more Senators will be able to do this so their constituents will know where they stand on issues. 


This training is absolutely free as part of Facebook’s Corporate Social Responsibility – CSR of the sponsors. Facebook will already be in Nigeria for a separate business and offered to do the training for free, I believe that extending such gesture to the Naional Assembly is a laudable CSR and they should be commended for this. Nigerians make up a large percentage of Facebook users in the continent and only proper for it to be used to change our country.

The Training has been scheduled for Monday 16th November 2016 at the National Assembly Complex from 12 noon to 5pm.

Bamikole Omishore is the Special Assistant  on New Media to the President of 8th Senate. 

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