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Instagram is finally expanding its fact-checking operations to cover all of its users across the globe.

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Instagram is finally expanding its fact-checking operations to cover all of its users across the globe.
A full three years after Facebook began working with outside fact-checkers, Instagram is finally expanding its fact-checking operations to cover all of its users across the globe.
The photo-sharing app will now start fact-checking posts outside of the United States, the company announced. It's a significant expansion of Instagram's fact-checking program, which up until now has only partnered with third-party organizations within the U.S. 
Instagram now works with 45 different fact-checking organizations around the world to identify false information within the app. Posts that have been debunked appear with "False Information" labels that obscure their content. The rules, however, are different for politicians: Instagram, much like Facebook, says it won't fact-check "the original content of politicians."

Instagram is finally expanding its fact-checking operations to cover all of its users across the globe.
The result is that people who choose to follow accounts that routinely share misinformation, like pages dedicated to anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, will still see those posts prominently in their feeds (albeit with some "False Information" labels). Instagram's CEO, Adam Mosseri, said in October that fact-checking policy differences between Instagram and Facebook were the result of "just playing catch up." 
"On Facebook we started by focusing on links and articles because that's where we saw the most issues, and have since expanded to images and video," he wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted. "Most of the work to reduce misinfo on Instagram is done by that same team."
Misinformation on Instagram is a much bigger problem than Facebook has previously let on. Earlier this year, a Senate Intelligence Committee report on 2016 election interference found that Instagram "was the most effective tool used by the IRA to conduct its information operations campaign." 
Though the company has been slowly stepping up its efforts to fight misinformation on the platform,  Instagram, which only began working with fact-checkers in May of this year, still lags behind Facebook in some notable areas. For example, while Facebook down-ranks posts that have been debunked in News Feed, Instagram doesn't change the placement of those debunked posts in its users' feeds. Instead, the company removes the post from public-facing areas of the app, like the Explore and hashtag pages. 

Google hosts first Startup Week in Lagos

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Google’s first regionally-based startup accelerator program, Launchpad Accelerator Africa runs out of a dedicated space in Lagos. Announced in 2017, Google has committed to training 60 African startups over 3 years, representing over $3-million in equity-free support, working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa. Participants also receive travel and PR support during each three-month program.
Google has hosted its first Google Startup Week in Lagos, which saw Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa graduates, from across Africa, pitch for funding from some of Africa & UK’s top venture capitalists (VCs), and Launchpad Accelerator Africa class 4 graduating from the program.
Select alumni from classes 1, 2, and 3 are fresh out of a three-month Google for Startups UK Africa Immersion Programme in London. This is a 12-week immersion program designed to bring the best of Google and the London startup ecosystem to tech companies from Africa that do not yet have a presence in the UK. 

In partnership with Launchpad Accelerator Africa, the program aims to connect high potential early-stage startups with the dedicated support of Google for Startups UK to help them take their startup to the next level.
“Every year, Africa’s economic growth continues to strengthen. Google for Startups has put its weight behind supporting the continent’s startups as they continue to build great products tackling key global social issues. This is an incredibly exciting space that is very relevant to the UK ecosystem and investors,” says Marta Krupinska, head of Google for Startups UK. 

Having completed their London Immersion, Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 1, 2, and 3 alumni met with investors from the UK and Africa during Google Startup Week in Lagos to pitch for funding to take their businesses further. 
Launchpad Accelerator Africa Class 4 graduated this week, as part of the Google Startup Week activities. Class 4 comprises 12 startups from six countries, addressing six different sectors.  
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Google Startup Week also saw participants from all 4 classes get a chance to meet, engage with each other, and share their experiences for the first time.
Class 4’s startups have collectively raised $4.3m, created over 300 jobs, and signed up over 110 000 users. They had collectively raised in excess of $600 000 before the program, and have been able to use Launchpad Accelerator Africa to scale their businesses to new levels.
“We believe Africans can solve Africa’s problems,” says the program’s head of startup success and services, Fola Olatunji-David. “In running Launchpad Accelerator Africa we specifically look to work with startups with that share this vision. Launchpad Class 4 is tackling some of Africa’s most pressing challenges, including access to financial services, education, and agriculture.”
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Since Launchpad Accelerator Africa was first announced in late 2017, the program has worked with 47 startups on their growth journey. These companies have raised millions of dollars in investments and created hundreds of jobs across the continent.
All the selected startups receive working space, and access to expert advisers from Google, Silicon Valley, and Africa. Participants also receive travel and PR support during each three-month program.

Alphabetical arrangement of the Class 4 startups graduating at Google Startup Week Lagos: 

AFARA PARTNERS (Nigeria): 
Afara Partners offers platforms that provide services to the financially underserved/excluded.
BRANDBOOK (South Africa):
BrandBook is a mobile app that incentivizes users to take a picture of their receipts, allowing it to harvest consumer purchase behavior across all channels.
ELEWA (Kenya):
Elewa is a toolkit for establishing scalable high-quality training programs within existing education- or professional institutions.
EVER SEND (Uganda):
 Ever send is a multi-currency e-wallet that allows you to exchange, spend, and spend money at the best possible rates. It also includes insurance, virtual debit cards, and bill payments.
OZÉ (Ghana): 
OZÉ brings African small businesses into the digital era, equipping their owners to make data-driven decisions to improve their performance and access capital. 
PHENOMENAL TECH (Zimbabwe):
 Phenomenal Technologies offers low-cost field excursions for learners through virtual reality. 
REACH (Nigeria): 
REACH recognizes, categorizes, and interprets transaction data from SMS and other sources, making this data available as individual financial and market insights.
SORTD (South Africa): 
Sortd aims to re-invent email with the world’s first All-in-One productivity suite for Gmail and G Suite.
TRADE BUZA (Nigeria): 
The TradeBuza is a cloud-based web and mobile application, which digitizes contract farming and trade.
TULAA (Kenya): 
Tulaa is an online-to-offline marketplace for smallholder farmers in Africa.
XEND (Nigeria): 
XEND allows users to make and receive payments, offline or online.
WORK PAY (Kenya): 
WorkPay is cloud-based employee management and payment solution using the power of mobile and biometrics.
54GENE (Nigeria) :
African DNA makes up only 2% of genetic research material used in pharmaceutical research. Founded in 2019, 54gene is creating the world’s first and largest pan-African biobank. 
FIELD INSIGHT (Nigeria):
 Fieldinsight helps to collect data in a structured manner using mobile and IoT devices. It then aggregates and represents this data through visualizations to help businesses make the best decisions.
KWARA (Kenya) :
 Kwara powers financial cooperatives with technology so they can meet their member's needs instantly.
OkHI (Kenya) :
 4 billion people across emerging markets do not have a physical address, costing economies $175bn a year. Based in Nairobi, OkHi creates digital addresses for people, which they can use (for free) to access reliable business services. 
PAPS (Senegal) –  Paps is an African logistics startup focused on the last mile delivery and domestic markets, with strong client care orientation, allowing live tracking, intelligent address systems, and automatic dispatch.
PIGGYVEST (Nigeria) :
Piggyvest is an automated saving and investment platform that helps Nigerians save little amounts of money periodically, and then invest those funds for competitive returns.
PAYGO ENERGY (Kenya) – PayGo Energy’s connected home gas meter links to a global IoT-based infrastructure for cooking gas delivery within high-density, high-demand urban communities — changing the entire cooking experience for households and unlocking access to clean cooking for a billion people.
THANKUCASH (Nigeria) – ThankUCash is an analytics and rewards platform built to enable banks and businesses in Africa to acquire, reward, and retain loyal customers.
THRIVE AGRIC (Nigeria) – Thrive Agric provides farmers with access to finance, data-driven advisory, and access to a market upon harvest.
VOYC (South Africa) – Voyc is on a mission to accelerate the world’s transition towards customer-centricity by making it easy for companies to understand their customers.

Amazon finally launches a battery-powered portable Echo speaker in India

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What is Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker?

Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker is a limited edition voice-controlled smart speaker with Alexa that is designed to be carried around your home while you continue to listen to your favourite music. No more searching for plug points – the built-in rechargeable 4800 mAh battery lets you access Alexa from anywhere in your home.

After launching nearly a dozen Echo speaker models in India in two years, Amazon said on Wednesday it is adding a new variant to the mix that addresses one of the most requested features from customers in the nation: portability.
The e-commerce giant today unveiled the Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition, a new variant in the lineup that includes a built-in battery. The 4,800 mAh enclosed battery will offer up to 10 hours of continuous music playing or up to 11 hours of stand-by life, the company said.
“Portability has been one of the most requested features in India,” said Miriam Daniel, VP of Alexa Devices. “You want to be able to carry Alexa with you from room to room within your homes. So we have designed something just for you.”
The company said the Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition (which remains a mouthful) shares the same “hardware architecture” as the Echo Input, a device it launched last year that does not feature a speaker.
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The battery-powered Echo model, designed exclusively for India, is priced at 5,999 Indian rupees ($84). Users can currently purchase it at an introductory price of 4,999 Indian rupees ($70) and the device will begin shipping on December 18.
Other than the built-in battery pack, the new speaker model offers an identical set of features — access to some 30,000 Alexa skills, compatibility with a range of home devices and, of course, support for Alexa voice assistant — as other Echo variants. (The new model additionally carries an array of four LEDs that light up when a user taps the power button, to show battery level.)
Amazon has never disclosed how many Echo speakers it has sold in India, but it has noted that the country is one of its most important markets. At a conference in September, Rohit Prasad, VP and head scientist of Alexa AI at Amazon, said the “adoption of Alexa in India has been phenomenal.”
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Over the years, a number of companies, including LG, Motorola and Sony, have added support for Alexa to their headphones and smartphones.
The e-commerce giant, which has invested north of $5 billion in India, is among many international firms that are currently betting to turn the nation of 1.3 billion people into one of its biggest markets. Winning that market means customizing many of their products and services to align with local conditions in the nation. In September, Amazon announced Alexa was adding support for Hindi language to broaden its appeal in the nation.
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