Welcome to another edition of 'This Week in Tech', your weekly dose of local and global tech news rounded up to save you the trouble. Keep reading to find out what's been happening!
Uber Partners with Nigerian Fintech, Flutterwave
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Ride-hailing platform Uber has recently partnered with Nigerian fintech company Flutterwave, to bring its digital wallet feature - Uber Cash - to Africa. Flutterwave which acts as a payment facilitator for businesses - by allowing its customers to utilize APIs and create custom payment applications - will now also make it possible for Uber users to top up their wallets on the Uber app via any of Flutterwaves remittance partners. Although Uber payments are typically made digitally by connecting a bank card to the app, cash payments remain an option in Africa considering the vast unbanked population. The introduction of a digital wallet could facilitate easier payments by eliminating fears of connecting a card directly to the application and likewise removing concerns over accurate change. The feature is set to go live this week and next in Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Ivory Coast, and South Africa.
Twitter Continues Crackdown on Misinformation with New Features
Photo by Yucel Moran on Unsplash
In a bid to do its part in curbing the spread of fake news and misinformation, Twitter is testing a new feature that prompts users to read an article before they share it using the retweet feature. In a statement released via @TwitterSupport, users will receive a prompt before sharing an article on the app if they have not opened said article on the app. The prompt will display options for users to decide whether or not they would like to proceed with sharing the article without reading it or if they would like to open the article before sharing. The company also announced that this feature will not stop users from sharing articles they haven’t read on the app, it will only serve as a prompt, and likewise, it will only apply to articles read on the app, meaning it will have no record of whether the article has been read elsewhere by the user.
Amazon Bans Police From Using Rekognition
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Amidst protests against police brutality in the United States that have put law enforcement in the country under immense scrutiny, and even sparked calls for the organizations defunding and outright abolition, Amazon has announced a one year prohibition on law enforcement that disallows them from using Rekognition, the company’s facial recognition platform. It follows in the footsteps of software giant IBM who announced that they would no longer continue research and development of facial recognition technology in light of the proven tendency of artificial intelligence to encode racial bias into its system. The works of Joy Buolamwini, a researcher at MIT’s media lab and Timnit Gebru, a researcher at Microsoft, have revealed significant error rates in facial recognition systems when detecting the identity of darker-skinned people. Although Amazon has faced criticism in the past for selling facial recognition software to the police, the current circumstances at least have forced the company to reconsider its stance.
Apple Removes PocketCast From the App Store in China
Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash
Following increased pressure from the Chinese government to censor content on PocketCasts - a podcast streaming and distribution platform available on both Android and iOS platforms - Apple has officially removed the client from its app store in China. This brings the total number of podcast platforms banned in the country to two as Castro was also banned not too long ago. Both bans follow an assessment made by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which determined that the platforms can be used to access illegal content.