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#TwitterBan: Nigeria’s House of Rep concludes its probe but remains silent on reversing the ban.

Izunna Okpala

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Three weeks after forming a committee to review the Twitter ban, Nigeria’s House of Representatives has completed its probe and issued recommendations. It did not, however, remark on the lifting of the prohibition.

On June 8, 2021, the Joint House Committee on Communication, Justice, Information and Culture, as well as National Security and Intelligence, was established to look into the circumstances surrounding the ban. It was also to determine the ban’s legal foundation.

The panel was supposed to report on its findings ten days after it was formed. However, the findings were finally scheduled for House consideration on July 1, 2021.

The Committee highlighted in the report that the Nigerian government had already began negotiations with Twitter, emphasizing the benefits and drawbacks of social media.
It was suggested that “time be granted for the Federal Government of Nigeria and Twitter to join into the already ongoing conversation process, in order to create room for an acceptable settlement on the matter.”

The panel also requested that the government take into account the harmful impact that the suspension of Twitter has had on Nigerians who rely on the network for their livelihood.

The Committee warned the government to better clarify its goals to Nigerians while also emphasizing that freedom of expression is not an absolute right. While liberty must always be safeguarded, it must also be weighed alongside national security concerns.

On some matters, the Committee mirrored remarks made by Speaker of the House Femi Gbajabiamila on the day it was formed.

The microblogging site was shut down after a tweet from Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, was removed for breaking its terms of service.

The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) ordered media outlets to stop using Twitter indefinitely as a result. Also, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, ordered the arrest of persons found using the platform after the ban.

Recall that on June 22, 2021, the ECOWAS Court barred the Nigerian government from putting new restrictions on Twitter. On July 6, 2021, the case will be heard. To get over the prohibition, Nigerians have resorted to using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). As we’ve seen, this is a practice with far-reaching effects.

While Nigerians wait for answers, it’s worth noting that when the Committee was formed, Gbajabiamila stated that the report will guide the House of Representatives’ next steps.

Legislative bodies vote on reports as soon as they are placed before the House, as is customary. This situation, however, appears to be unique.

Data Center

Binance Faces Criminal Complaint From Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission for Operating Without Licence

Izunna Okpala

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Thailand has filed a criminal complaint against cryptocurrency exchange Binance for operating a digital asset business without a license, the latest in a series of crackdowns on the platform around the world.

The SEC said on Friday that “it was discovered that Binance has provided platform services for trading or exchanging digital assets via its website…” Only licensed organizations are authorized to provide services linked to digital asset trading in Thailand, according to the country’s regulator.

A request for comment from Binance was not immediately returned. Last Monday, the UK’s financial watchdog restricted Binance from engaging in regulated activities in the country.

The company has previously stated that it takes its regulatory commitments seriously and is dedicated to following them everywhere it operates.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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General News

These telemedicine companies are transforming the way doctors will treat patients in the future.

Izunna Okpala

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Telemedicine exploded during the pandemic, after years of steadily gaining popularity. Companies are now capitalizing on this momentum to bring in the next wave of remote health, expanding beyond simple doctor consultations to a high-tech world of healthcare access without ever leaving the house.

Dr. John Batsis, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, remarked that the pandemic “actually promoted new techniques for remote monitoring, production, and development of devices.” “Wherever there is a customer need, there will be startups, equity, and businesses attempting to meet those requirements.”

Tyto Care, an on-demand medical exam company that aspires to duplicate in-person visits with home medical kits, is one company reconsidering televisits. Dedi Gilad, the company’s CEO and co-founder, came up with the idea eight years ago while his daughter was suffering from recurrent ear and throat infections.

Meanwhile, Sanford Health in the Midwest, the country’s largest rural health care organization, has adopted a similar strategy. Rather of adapting devices for remote usage, doctors taught patients how to record their results at home using the same tools they used during in-person appointments.

According to Sanford Health, “home monitoring kits” containing a fetal ultrasound monitor and a blood pressure cuff were distributed to patients with low-risk pregnancies, allowing women to use virtual care for nearly a third of their prenatal care appointments during the pandemic.

Other telemedicine startups, such as Kiira in Los Angeles, are focusing on increasing access to underprivileged areas. The company’s virtual care app, which links women to primary care providers, OB-GYNs, mental health experts, and more through phone, video, and chat 24 hours a day, seven days a week, aims to bridge the healthcare gap for women in college, particularly women of color.

Historically, black and brown people have faced numerous impediments to healthcare, including fees, access to care, and even access to clinicians of color. Students are frequently hesitant to enter because they do not see a provider who looks like them…. One of the things that has been absent for a long time is the ability to see someone who you can relate to and speak with a provider from the comfort of your own home.

Virtual visits can be conducted, prescriptions can be written, and lab tests can be ordered using the app. Kiira’s monthly fee is covered by colleges, so students don’t have to pay for it. It presently serves four universities and approximately 3,000 students, with ambitions to grow to 22,000 students later this year.

Spora Heath, another affordable telemedicine startup, focuses on offering a primary care network for African-Americans. The $10-per-month service compels its physicians, 90 percent of whom are persons of color, to complete “culture-competence training” and workshops in order to better understand and support the communities they serve.

These technologies are going to be integrally important in managing patient’s health now and in the future.

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Health

Weight loss-related adverts are no longer allowed on Pinterest – Pinterest CEO

Izunna Okpala

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Pinterest stated on Thursday that all weight-loss adverts will be removed from its site, in an effort to prohibit content that promotes unhealthy or disordered eating patterns.

Ads containing language or visuals that promote or degrade particular body types will also be prohibited, according to the bookmarking site.
“Since the Covid-19 pandemic began last year, there has been a dramatic spike in harmful eating patterns and eating disorders in young people,” Pinterest (PINS) stated in a statement, citing data from the National Eating Disorders Association.

The new policy will take effect on Thursday. The issue for platforms, as with any online content moderation policies, is usually not so much in establishing the rule as it is in enforcing it and ensuring that no one breaks it.

While Pinterest is now widely regarded as a happy place on the internet, it used to be plagued by content that encouraged potentially hazardous diet and lifestyle practices, also described as “thinspiration,” “thinspo,” or “pro-anorexia.” Pinterest prohibited similar content in 2012, but in the years afterwards, pro-eating disorder content has been discovered on the platform.

The company announced on Thursday that it had already banned some weight-loss-related ads, including those with before-and-after photographs, weight-loss medications or procedures, and “body shaming.”

However, its new policy aims to go even further by prohibiting all weight-loss-related language and images, including testimonials about weight reduction or weight-loss products, as well as allusions to BMI or equivalent indices. Pinterest claims to be the “only big platform” that does not allow such adverts.

“We encourage others in the industry to follow suit and admit, once and for all, that one-size-fits-all doesn’t exist,” the company added.
Pinterest will continue to allow ads promoting “healthy lifestyles” or fitness products and services as long as they do not promote weight loss, according to the business. The policy was created with the help of the National Eating Disorders Association.

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