Organisers of social media week bounce journalists from venue as Facebook boss arrives in Nigeria
Organisers of the Social Media Week in Lagos have redlined journalists who arrived at the venue to cover the event. Rather than allow reporters access to the event, the organisers asked journalists to make payment before they were admitted.
Whereas a few of the journalists paid to enter, others left the venue in anger. This is the first time that journalists who built up the annual event to a national movement through their reportage would be asked to pay before they were admitted into the show.
Meantime, Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer at Facebook is already in Nigeria to speak at Social Media Week in Lagos about the future of media, and to meet with Nigerian entrepreneurs and content creators.
Nigeria is the first stop on a week-long trip to West Africa where Chris will visit Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal to learn about the challenges and opportunities people in the region face so that Facebook can better serve the region’s content creators, entrepreneurs and developers.
During his talk at Social Media Week — the region’s premier new media and social media conference — Cox highlighted Nigeria’s status as a hub for innovation and creativity because of its fast-growing mobile technology sector and its vibrant film and music industries. He focused on how the world is moving to digital video, with formats such as virtual reality, live video broadcast and 360 video giving people new ways to tell their stories.
“Stories matter, whether it’s the stories of our lives or the story of Africa’s growth and ascendance” says Cox. “We want Nigeria’s storytellers — the musicians, the filmmakers, the novelists — to take their stories to the rest of the world. The explosion in mobile video and live video, gives people a new way to share their story and perspective with the globe – and this is happening on Facebook.”
Cox talked about how creators like Femi Kuti are using Facebook to bring fans into their lives and extend their presence beyond the stage and recorded media. He also discussed how innovators like Afrinolly – the creative hub where technology meets art — are using virtual reality and 360-degree video to create exciting and compelling new storytelling formats.
Chris Cox is the most senior Facebook executive to visit Nigeria since Mark Zuckerberg visited Lagos in September 2016. He arrived in Nigeria last night (26 February) and attended New Afrika Shrine to see Femi Kuti, one of his musical heroes. Femi’s hour long set was streamed via Facebook live to the world and Chris was honoured to be invited to play keyboards for one song.
“I’m looking forward to hearing more about how Nigerian creatives, developers and entrepreneurs are using mobile technology, video and Facebook platforms to create inspiring applications and services for their customers and communities,” says Cox. “The level of innovation we see in this market is amazing. As Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria is an important market for us.”
When Mark Zuckerberg visited Nigeria, one of the requests he heard was for businesses to be able to pay for advertising and other services in Naira. In response, Facebook has started accepting locally issued Nigerian Naira cards from new advertisers for payments on its ads platform.
“With 8.6 million people in Nigeria using Facebook on mobile every day, Facebook is a great place for businesses to reach their customers” says Cox. “We’re listening to our community of partners, developers, advertisers and content creators to understand what we can build to best serve their needs.”
Starting on 8 March, Facebook will kick off Boost Your Business, a series of free training sessions designed to help thousands of Nigerian small business owners understand how to leverage digital platforms for growth. The sessions will be facilitated by trainers led by She Leads Africa in key cities including Lagos, Kaduna, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan.