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Happy salary week ☀️
WhatsApp is the gift that keeps giving.
The Meta-owned platform is reportedly testing self-destructing voice notes—voice notes that vanish once they are listened to. It’s the audio option for View Once pictures and disappearing messages.
The feature doesn’t look like it’s rolling out soon, but WhatsApp is beta testing it across Android and iPhone users.
WhatsApp, everyone, bringing new meaning to “You go explain tire (no evidence)”.👍🏿
Majorel to lay off 200 employees
Image source: Majorel
Content moderation firm Majorel is laying off 16% of its Kenyan workforce.
In an email shared with TechCabal last week, the company confirmed that it had notified 200 of its 1,200 employees of the company’s decision. Per Majorel, the layoffs are due to restrictions from a court order placed on the company in March 2023.
The company didn’t officially confirm the specifics of the restrictions, but sources familiar with the case informed TechCabal that the court order is connected to Majorel’s contract with Meta.
ICYMI: Majorel is a casualty in a court case Kenyan content moderators have levied against Meta and its former content moderation partner Sama.
Earlier this year, Sama terminated its contract with Meta and laid off 260 content moderators. Subsequently, 43 of the content moderators sued Meta and Sama for their dismissal. Concurrently, Meta tried to engage Majorel as its new content moderation partner but the deal was stopped by a court order after ex-employees from Sama filed discrimination suits against both Meta and Majorel—Meta had reportedly asked Majorel not to hire any content moderators who had worked with Sama.
Meta’s prejudice against Sama’s content moderators stems from a string of complaints made by these moderators regarding the subpar working conditions they endured at Sama.
Now, the stalled contract is forcing Majorel to retire content moderators. The company is also asking some of its remaining workforce to relocate from its Nairobi office to Mombasa—a deal some aren’t taking due to an inadequate KES20,000 ($134) relocation fee.
Zoom out: So far, it doesn’t look like the content moderators’ case is making any headway in court as Meta continues to deny that Kenyan courts have the authority to hear its case. It isn’t the first time global companies have doubted the jurisdiction of African courts over their businesses—despite them running their businesses across these African countries.
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SA gets landmark social media defamation case
Image Source: YungNollywood
It’s not just Twitter anymore, it’s now real life (but also, not Twitter, now X).
This rings true for South African transport activist Zwelakhe Joseph Msabe who, last week, was convicted of defamation by a South African high court.
Msabe had been at loggerheads with a private transport company, Itumele Bus Lines, which has been in business since 1975. From May 2022, the activist made several posts criticising the company. In December 2022, the company applied to the court for a prohibitive order against Msabe, but the activist—who, at the time, said court orders couldn’t silence him—continued to make the posts up until February 2023. The company then filed for a final interdict and sought damages against Msabe.
Worthy causes, wrongful actions: According to Msabe, his digital barrage against Itumele was in defence of residents and commuters whose rights he believed were being violated by the company.
The activist made over 55 posts claiming that the bus company made unlawful increases in tariff, and was complicit in the “murder” of commuters after one of its buses, in November 2022, was in an accident that claimed lives. Msabe claimed the accident was a result of the bus having worn tyres.
Over the course of the case, the bus company rebutted Msabe’s claims, proving to Judge André Berry that the bus in question was roadworthy and that pictures of the worn tyres shown by Msabe were false. The company also showed that increases in tariffs were determined by a passenger focus forum—a forum Msabe apparently did not know about nor was a part of—and approved by the province.
With a guilty verdict, Msabe was ordered to delete all offending posts and pay fines. Per the judge, “Believing that one pursues a worthy cause in the public interest, does not justify publishing false statements about another party…the publication of defamatory statements are prima facie [at first sight] wrongful.”
The big picture: This case holds significant importance as it paves the way for addressing defamation and libel on social media. Only a handful of cases have been reported regarding defamation on social media in South Africa, including the 2012 Dutch Reformed Church v Rayan Sooknunan case, and the 2013 Isparta v Richter case. Itumele v Msabe, however, appears to be the first case involving the defamation of a company by an individual.
Vodacom agrees to pay R1 million fine
GIF Source: Zikoko Memes
Vodacom is atoning for its wrongs.
Last Friday, the company agreed to pay a R1 million ($52,666) fine levied by South Africa’s National Consumer Tribunal.
What it did wrong: Vodacom violated the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) by imposing substantial penalties on customers who wished to cancel their fixed-term contracts. These penalties amounted to 75% of the remaining contract balance, effectively preventing customers from exercising their right to terminate their contracts early.
The Consumer Protection Act in South Africa allows subscribers to cancel such contracts before their designated end dates, provided they give a 20-day notice to the network operator and are subject to a “reasonable” cancellation fee. Following customer complaints, the National Consumer Commission (NCC) swiftly determined that Vodacom’s actions were deemed “unethical” as they imposed conditions that infringed upon consumers’ ability to cancel their contracts.
Per a Vodacom spokesperson who spoke to tech publication TechCentral, “Vodacom will comply with [the tribunal’s] determination and plans to continue co-operating with the National Consumer Commission, as has been its practice, on any future consumer- and customer-related concerns,” a Vodacom spokeswoman told TechCentral. The company also announced that some of the affected consumers would be refunded.
Paystack is live in Kenya
After 10 months in private beta, Paystack announced that all business in Kenya could now accept payments with our growth tools. Learn more →
Sanari Capital Raises $65 Million for growth fund
Executives of the Kuramo Capital and Kuramo Foundation
Sanari Capital, a South African private equity firm, has raised $65 million out of its $100 million growth fund.
South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the largest asset manager on the African continent, and Alex Forbes Investments contributed to the round. The PIC and Alex Forbes investments are also included in the list of investors in Sanari growth fund.
Previous investors include 27four Black Business Growth Fund, Telkom Retirement Fund, Motor Industry Retirement Funds through the RisCura Manager Development Programme, National Fund for Municipal Workers (NFMW), Alexforbes Investments, Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
Launched in 2013, Sanari Capital specialises in investments in growth companies from South Africa. The private equity company invests in sectors vital to human well-being, including education, healthcare, food security, and eco-friendly solutions. Sanari Capital’s check size is between R50 million ($2.6 million) and R250 million ($13.1 million). Its investment strategy places a strong emphasis on digital and human enablement to unlock business potential.
Zoom out: Sanari Capital’s fundraise follows a recent slew of Africa-focused fund announcements that are setting the pace for a new trend of investments on the continent. Baobab Network raised a $100,000 fund, earlier this month to invest in 1,000 African Start-Ups. Also, Kuramo Capital raised $150 million this month to invest in African women-led startups. LeapFrog Investments is also set to raise $1 billion by 2024 to pour into startups on the continent. These and many more are examples of investment firms pumping VC dollars on the continent amidst the gruelling funding winter.
Attend the KB4-CON Virtual Summit
KB4-CON EMEA is a free virtual event that focuses on cybersecurity and is designed for CISOs, security awareness, and cybersecurity professionals in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. You can find the full agenda for the event here.
The World Wide Web3
* Data as of 08:50 AM WAT, October 22, 2023.
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