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In Uganda, you now need about $19 a year to be on social media

Millions of people in Uganda now have to pay to use popular social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter as new rules come into force

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Millions of people in Uganda now have to pay to use popular social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter as new rules come into force.

In late May, the Ugandan parliament passed legislation that introduced a tax on the use of the so-called Over The Top (OTT) social media platforms offering voice and messaging services.

As of Sunday, users are required to pay 200 shillings a day (about $0.05) to access any of the more than 60 such OTT platforms.

This translates into about $1.5 a month and $19 a year, in a country where millions live on less than $1 a year.

The government says the measure will bring in much-needed revenue to turn the country into a middle-income one by 2020.

But social media users say the tax violates their right to freedom of expression, will deny people business opportunities and leave Ugandans even poorer.
Human rights activists argue the tax is in bad faith and say they are preparing a constitutional challenge.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 32 years, has spoken dismissively about social media users and said the tax was aimed at dealing with the consequences of online “gossip”.

Critics have previously accused the government of evoking questionable incitement laws, relics of British colonialism, to silence dissent.

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YouTube paid $50 billion to creators, media outlets in 3 years, to pay them 45% Ad revenue

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Video streaming platform, YouTube, has revealed that it paid content creators, artists, and media companies over $50 billion over the last 3 years.

The Google-owned streaming service recently announced that it would introduce advertising on its video feature shorts and give video creators 45% of the revenue.

With 30 billion-plus daily views and 1.5 billion-plus monthly logged-in users, Youtube is introducing new ways for creators to earn revenue through Shorts, and re-imagining the music industry and creator dynamic by opening up ads monetization for those who feature music in their videos.  

YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, Neal Mohan, said: “YouTube’s first-of-its-kind, industry-leading Partner Program changed the game for long-form video. And now we’re changing the game again, this time by opening it up to Short-form creators and introducing revenue sharing to Shorts.

“This is the first-time revenue sharing is being offered for short-form video on any platform at scale, adding to the 10 ways creators can already earn revenue on YouTube. It’ll be available to all of those in YPP — including the new, mobile-first creators, who will be joining the program for the first time.”

Also speaking, Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music, said: “Creator Music is the future. We’re building the bridge between artists and creators on YouTube to elevate the soundtrack of the creator economy; it’s a win-win-win for artists, songwriters, creators, and fans.

With Creator Music, artists have a new way to get their music out into the world; fans can now discover music they love on their favorite creator’s channels, and both creators and artists will have new revenue opportunities.

YouTube has 2.1 billion monthly active users based all around the world and the number shows no signs of slowing down, with the projected number of users increasing each year. In terms of daily active users, YouTube sees approximately 122 million users per day.

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Kenyan logistics startup, Araka, launches on-demand App that prioritises drivers

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Kenyan mobility and logistics startup, Araka, has launched a super App which seeks to solve challenges faced by on-demand e-hailing drivers and logistics companies.

The platform allows its customers to book all sorts of services, key among them rides and deliveries, but is to be more driver-focused than its competitors, according to the startup’s CEO, Mark Pascal.

Araka which was founded in November 2021 by Pascal, together with Drake Smith, Michael Kariamu and Emmanuel Maingi, is a “fintech, logistics and mobility platform that helps digital economy drivers own their vehicles for less, access short-term credit, and connect with clients,” according to Disrupt Africa.

Speaking on the successes of the platform, Pascal said:

“At Araka, we solve the two main problems faced by digital drivers. The first of these is the high commission charged by similar platforms.

“Where our competitors charge drivers up to 25 per cent commission, we charge only five per cent, hence helping our drivers to save up to 60 per cent of their current spending on commissions.

“The second major challenge is the high cost of consumer and work tool loans, where Araka is undercutting up to 150 per cent monthly interest on short-term loans to drivers for consumer credit like fuel, airtime and data.

“We offer our riders work tool financing at low four per cent monthly interest, leading to up to 12 per cent annual interest savings,” he said.

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