Here are the most important stories we are tracking today, Friday, November 10, 2023.
Telecoms giant MTN plans to exit three African markets
The pan-African telecom operator, MTN is in discussions for a potential "orderly exit" from operations in Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, and Liberia as it aims to streamline its portfolio and focus on more viable markets.'
The decision comes as MTN faces various challenges in the West and Central Africa region, with CEO Ralph Mupita highlighting signs of inflation and currency devaluation across multiple markets. While specific reasons for the exit have not been disclosed, the company's financial reports reflect the complexities encountered in the region.
According to Bloomberg, the three countries in question — Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, and Liberia — contribute only 1.6% to MTN's total revenue as of 2022. Additionally, MTN faces market competition in these countries, holding a secondary market share of about 30% in Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry. In Liberia, Lonestar MTN is the second-largest telecom, with Orange Liberia dominating over 50% of the market.
OpenAI's ChatGPT Faces DDoS Attack
OpenAI in a status update has confirmed that the downtime experienced by users of its chatbot ChatGPT on Wednesday was as a result of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. According to reports, the alleged orchestrators are a group of Russia-backed cybercriminals identifying themselves as Anonymous Sudan.
The disruptions began on Tuesday, with sporadic outages reported on ChatGPT and its API starting at 10:52 p.m. EST. Although OpenAI initially claimed to have resolved the issue by midnight, subsequent outages occurred. The attack persisted, leading to a 90-minute downtime for ChatGPT and its APIs on Wednesday.
A DDoS attack is a malicious effort to disrupt access to a targeted server, service, or network by overwhelming it with a flood of internet traffic. While such attacks are relatively new to AI chatbots, the blockchain industry has long grappled with DDoS attacks, as seen in the targeted incidents on the Solana network.
TikTok is shutting down its $1 billion creator fund
TikTok is bidding farewell to its $1 billion Creator Fund in key markets, including the US, UK, France, and Germany, effective December 16, as it shifts focus to its newer Creativity Program.
Creators enrolled in the Creator Fund can seamlessly transition to the newer Creativity Program, introduced in February with a promise of higher payouts. The decision to sunset the Creator Fund follows creator complaints about low payouts, with some receiving meagre earnings for high-view videos.
The new Creativity Program, designed to address these concerns, implements a reward formula that emphasizes longer videos. It aims to provide creators with a higher average gross revenue for qualified views.
Amazon begins layoffs in music streaming unit
Amazon.com has initiated job cuts within its Music division, marking the latest in a series of layoffs over the past year that have impacted over 27,000 employees across the company.
According to people familiar with the matter, Employees in Latin America, North America, and Europe were notified of job eliminations on Wednesday. In a report by Reuters, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed the layoffs, refraining from disclosing the exact number of affected employees.
The job cuts align with Amazon's ongoing efforts to optimize its operations and resources in a competitive market landscape. Amazon Music, which includes podcasts, competes with industry giants like Spotify, Pandora, Google, and Apple in providing subscription-based unlimited music streaming services.
Paystack deepens its payment play with direct debit
Paystack, the Nigerian fintech under Stripe's ownership, has joined forces with NIBSS, the operator of Nigeria's instant payments infrastructure, to develop a fully digital solution for direct debits from consumers' bank accounts. This strategic partnership aims to enhance Paystack's fintech offerings by creating a seamless, fully digital process for processing direct debits.
The upcoming direct debit product by Paystack is set to empower Nigerian businesses, allowing them to charge customers' bank accounts directly. Direct debits prove valuable for recurring payment activities, such as subscriptions to services like DStv, Tizeti, Netflix, or Spotify. With customer consent, this method facilitates automatic debiting of the user's bank account, eliminating the need for debit card information. This approach not only reduces costs associated with card transactions but also mitigates frictions linked to card payments.
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