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Snapchat Rolls Out Lens Challenges, A Global Feature Tied To Music, Dance, Holidays And Events.

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Snapchat has launched a new feature called Lens Challenges, which allows users around the world to take part in challenges with other users.

Participants create and send “Snaps” that use a lens tied to a song, dance, holiday, event or the like. One holiday-themed example debuting along with Challenges is a sing-along to Gwen Stefani’s version of “Jingle Bells.”

The Challenges feature is intended to “inspire creativity, self-expression, and community for Snapchatters and Lens Creators alike,” the company said in its announcement.

Snap’s announcement said the company expects Lens Studio to be used by Challenge participants. The first community-created Lens Challenge is the “Disappear” Challenge, which invites users to share what the company calls “their most creative ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ moment.” The Lens was made by Jye Trudinger (known in Snapchat circles as Jinnie the Wew) and prompts users to take two photos that superimpose, causing the photo’s subject to disappear.

While it remains popular with teens and 20-somethings, who are highly prized by brand marketers, Snapchat saw a decline of 2 million daily active users in the third quarter, to 186 million. The company has seen some senior executives depart in recent months and faced ongoing complaints about its 2017 app redesign and long-delayed Android upgrade. Within its social media peer group, however, it has managed to avoid the privacy, data and political scandals that have afflicted Facebook and Twitter.

Investors remain circumspect about the company’s fortunes. Its stock price began the year at $14.50 a share but in recent weeks sank to $5.51, an all-time low. Thus far today, it is up 1% to $5.71.

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Nas And Will Smith Invest In Mobile App To Help Teens Gain Financial Literacy.

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Nas and Will Smith have invested in a new banking app for teens that will help them gain financial literacy. The startup company behind the app is called Step, and the two celebs participated in a funding round of $22.5 million, according to TechCrunch.

The app will be attached to a MasterCard, and parents will be able to view their child’s transactions, add money and place restrictions on their account.

The services will also change as teens get older. For example, it’ll lend money for computers and books when they get into college.

The CEO and founder of Step, CJ MacDonald, said it makes sense to teach young people about money management through an app since most of them make purchases with their smartphones.

“Schools don’t teach kids about money,” he stated. “We want to be their first bank accounts with spending cards, but we also want to teach financial literacy and responsibility. Banks don’t tailor to this, and we want to be a solution teaching the next generation of adults to be more responsible with money in the cashless era. It was easy with cash to go to the mall, but now everyone is using their phone for Uber and more.”

The app will first be rolled out in the U.S. market, which reportedly has a little less than 50 million teenagers. MacDonald also said the app will give teens a sense of independence, even though their parents can still monitor their transactions.

Smith and Nas aren’t the only Black celebrities who’ve put their money toward helping young people gain financial literacy.

Last year, 21 Savage teamed up with the organization “Get Schooled” to teach kids about banking, and he also started the “21 Savage Bank Account Campaign” to help kids learn how to properly handle their money.

Source: Atlanta Black Star.

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Steadfast Limited To Inaugurate First-Ever Bolts & Nuts Company In Ghana.

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Steadfast Limited is an Engineering Company specializing in a wide range of services and manufacturing of stud bolts & nuts and specialized fasteners for a varied range of customer applications including Oil & Gas, Power generation, Construction, Mining, Marine Engineering and Food Processing.

When inaugurated, Steadfast Limited will be the first-ever company in Ghana to manufacture fasteners and other piping material needed for the oil and gas industry cutting down incredibly on the long wait times to have piping tasks completed offshore.

The establishment of the first-ever bolts and nuts company in the West Africa will help stimulate the Ghanaian economy with regards to job creation and opportunities for the teeming unemployed youth, enable Ghanaians to participate actively in the oil and gas industry as stated in the country’s Local Content and Local Participation Act, 2013 (L.I. 2204) as well as a basis for government to raise revenue to fund its activities.

“Steadfast Limited will become the industry leader in coating of stud bolts in Africa. At Steadfast Limited, we are devoted to helping you improve your business and ideally positioned to provide quality service to all our clients using our new coating technologies and our state-of-the-art PTFE Coating plant. We develop and apply high-grade surface coating for the industries we serve.

Our coating combinations are designed for specific applications to optimize corrosion protection and resistance to wear especially for subsea applications. We provide turnkey solutions to customers for their requirement of fasteners which are used in many projects all over Ghana and Africa. We manufacture bolts and nuts of almost all international grades like DIN, ASTM, ANSI, BS and ISO,”.

Steadfast Limited is a subsidiary of Rigworld Solutions which is a member of the Rigworld Group.

It is an indigenous Ghanaian company and a hundred percent (100%) engineering entity specializing in a wide range of engineering services and manufacturing of stud bolts & nuts, threaded bars, fasteners, washers, gaskets and specialized engineering equipment to the petrochemical, mining, structural engineering, automobile and fabrication industries.

The company’s ISO accredited wider product manufacturing range includes Spectacle Blinds, Spade- Spacers and Flanges in collaboration with its United Kingdom (UK) partners Marla Group.

It is also a leading distributor of pipe, Tube, pipe fittings and miscellaneous piping items. Steadfast Limited pays special attention to its manufacturing by ensuring that it is above the industry and provide speedy delivery of fasteners at the shortest delivery periods.

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In Trying To Clear “Confusion” Over Anti-Harassment Policy, YouTube Creates More Confusion.

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After a series of tweets that made it seem as if YouTube was contradicting its own anti-harassment policies, the video platform published a blog post in an attempt to clarify its stance. But even though the post is supposed to “provide more details and context than is possible in any one string of tweets” and promises that YouTube will reexamine its harassment policy, it raises yet more questions about how serious YouTube is about combatting harassment and hate speech on its platform—especially if the abuse comes from a high-profile channel with million of subscribers.

YouTube is currently under fire for not taking earlier, more decisive actions against conservative commentator Steven Crowder after he made homophobic and racist comments about Vox reporter Carlos Maza in multiple videos. The platform eventually demonetized Crowder’s channel, which currently has more than 3.8 million subscribers, but then stated it would allow Crowder to start making ad revenue again if he fixed “all of the issues” with his channel and stopped linking to an online shop that sold shirts saying “Socialism is for f*gs.”

Before demonetizing Crowder’s channels, YouTube responded to Maza in a series of tweets that created confusion about how it enforces it policies. The platform said after an “in-depth review” of flagged videos by Crowder, it decided that even though the language they contained was “clearly hurtful,” the videos did not violate its policies because “as an open platform, it’s crucial for us to allow everyone-from creators to journalists to late-night TV hosts-to express their opinions w/in the scope of our policies.” This was in spite of the fact that Crowder’s derogatory references to Maza’s ethnicity and sexual orientation violate several of YouTube’s policy against harassment and cyberbullying, including “content that makes hurtful and negative personal comments/videos about another person.”

Carlos Maza
I've been called an anchor baby, a lispy queer, a Mexican, etc. These videos get millions of views on YouTube. Every time one gets posted, I wake up to a wall of homophobic/racist abuse on Instagram and Twitter.

In the new blog post, posted by YouTube head of communications Chris Dale, the platform gives a lengthy explanation of how it attempts to draw the line between things like “edgy stand-up comedy routines” and harassment. But in the case of Crowder’s persistent attacks on Maza, YouTube repeated its stance that the videos flagged by users “did not violate our Community Guidelines.”

As an open platform, we sometimes host opinions and views that many, ourselves included, may find offensive. These could include edgy stand-up comedy routines, a chart-topping song, or a charged political rant — and more. Short moments from these videos spliced together paint a troubling picture. But, individually, they don’t always cross the line.

There are two key policies at play here: harassment and hate speech. For harassment, we look at whether the purpose of the video is to incite harassment, threaten or humiliate an individual; or whether personal information is revealed. We consider the entire video: For example, is it a two-minute video dedicated to going after an individual? A 30-minute video of political speech where different individuals are called out a handful of times? Is it focused on a public or private figure? For hate speech, we look at whether the primary purpose of the video is to incite hatred toward or promote supremacism over a protected group; or whether it seeks to incite violence. To be clear, using racial, homophobic, or sexist epithets on their own would not necessarily violate either of these policies. For example, as noted above, lewd or offensive language is often used in songs and comedic routines. It’s when the primary purpose of the video is hate or harassment. And when videos violate these policies, we remove them.

The decision to demonetize Crowder’s channel was ultimately made because “we saw the widespread harm to the YouTube community resulting from the ongoing pattern of egregious behavior, took a deeper look, and made the decision to suspend monetization,” Dale wrote. In order to start earning ad revenue again, “all relevant issues with the channel need to be addressed, including any videos that violate our policies, as well as things like offensive merchandise,” he added.

The latest YouTube controversy is both upsetting and exhausting, because it is yet another reminder of the company’s lack of action against hate speech and harassment, despite constantly insisting that it will do better (just yesterday, for example, YouTube announced that it will ban videos that support views like white supremacy, Nazi ideology or promote conspiracy theories that deny events like the Holocaust or Sandy Hook).

The passivity of social media companies when it comes to stemming the spread of hate through its platforms has real-life consequences (for example, when (Maza was doxxed and harassed by fans of Crowder last year), and no amount of prevarication or distancing can stop the damage once its been done.

Source: TechCrunch.

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Join Vū-Mē: Sarkodie, Lexis Bill, Bridget Otoo And Others Interact With Vū-Mē CEO And Executives.

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One of the famous mobile video sharing app with a focus on live streaming, music, performances, and HD content is Vū-Mē.

Vū-Mē has reached Africa which was launched and introduced first in Ghana by some influential musicians like rapper Sarkodie.

Vū-Mē is creating a new outlet for social influencers and content creators to share their entertaining video content and still make revenue for making such good videos.

In a discussion with Mr. Leonard Pimentel, CEO and Chief Technology Officer for Lotus Research, owners of the Vū-Mē app with some Bloggers, radio personalities and musicians, Mr Pimentel mentioned that, content creators will receive revenue in several ways including views on content, sharing content, live pay-per-view events, native advertisements, SVOD, and live broadcasts, and in-app ecommerce.

"Unlike any other social or video platform online, Vū-Mē gives audiences an opportunity to make money alongside influencers just by watching and sharing videos they love." - He said

Vu-Me is revolutionizing digital video revenue sharing by offering an innovative pay-per-view model, giving creators, event organizers and general public the freedom to live stream and offer pay per view services to reach clients who may not be available to physically be present to watch events and programs from the comfort of their phones. Event Organizers and content providers get to determine their own price for exclusive content while keeping a greater portion of earnings.

Vū-Mē is currently available for free downloads and enables content creators, event organizers, to live-stream, pay per view and share photos, videos and 4K Ultra HD video across Wi-Fi and mobile networks with industry first levels of low latency, giving audiences the richest experience regardless of device.

Also speaking at the Influencers engagement, Mr. Nana Kwame Oteng-Gyasi, Business Development Consultant for Vū-Mē in Africa encouraged Ghanaians to make good use of the app.

"Vū-Mē has come to stay and it will not only put money and entertain us but also impact life. Lucky enough, Ghana is the first country to be introduced to Vū-Mē and we encourage Africa’s Young population to embrace this opportunity that will help curtail the huge unemployment on the continent." He stated

At the interaction with the CEO of Vū-Mē were Abieku Santana, Bridget Otoo, Sarkodie, Caroline Sampson, Lexis Bill, AJ Sarpong, Ameyaw Debrah, George Britton and other entertainment industry players and social media influencers. Also present were reps from standard chartered bank plot grace the occasion and engage.

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