Fact check: Is Crowwe, Adamu Garba’s first social networking platform, built in Africa, as claimed?

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Claim: Former Presidential Aspirant and CEO of IPI Solutions, Adamu Garba, recently claimed that Crowwe, an online interaction application created by his company, is the first social networking platform created in Nigeria and in Africa in a message on his Facebook page.

Verdict: The statement is false. Other social media platforms were built in Africa as early as 2005.



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Since its release in July 2020, the Crowwe app, developed by Gloomme Business Connection, a subsidiary of IPI Group Limited, has witnessed a lot of backlash from the Nigerian people.

On Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, Crowwe has garnered numerous disparaging remarks in the reviews section, largely due to Garba’s stance on controversial issues in the country’s socio-political landscape.

One example is Garba’s stance on the federal government banning the microblogging platform, Twitter in Nigeria.

While defending the government’s action, Garba called the US microblogging and social networking service an “insurgent tool” capable of undermining the country’s sovereignty.

Additionally, in October 2020, during the nationwide #EndSARS protest, which sought to disband a Nigerian police unit, Garba took a controversial stance alleging that the protest had devolved into a political agitation capable of breaching the law and order in the country while threatening to sue Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for retweeting a link to donations to support the movement.

On June 14, 2021, it was observed that the app had been removed from the Google Play Store. Many had attributed the removal to damning comments and low ratings on the app’s page, but the former presidential candidate claimed he was the one who asked Google to remove the app.






In an interview with Punch, Garba claimed to have asked Google to remove the app from Google Playstore because it needed to update the code.

Garba said it was in an effort to make improvements that he asked Google to remove the app.



On June 15, 2021, Garba took to his Facebook page to personally explain why there are a “million” requests to remove his app from the Play Store, but maintained his old stance that the lack of the application on the Play Store had not resulted in low ratings.

Garba listed five “crimes”, which he believes may be responsible for the backlash the app has received.

However, in his listings, Garba mentioned that one of his “crimes” was that his company had built Africa’s first social networking app.

His words, “…the third crime is that my company built the first social networking application not only in Nigeria but in Africa, apparently it didn’t fit the narrative that, above all else, it was the company of the Fulani man who had built (sic) the application…”

Verification

To verify the claim, Dubawa searched the internet for similar platforms that had been built in Africa over the years.

It was first discovered that as early as 2005, South Africa already had a social networking application known as Mxit, built by Herman Heunis.

Heunis was born in a rural area of ​​Namibia. He moved to South Africa where he went to Stellenbosch University in 1977 and started his vocation in computer programming 3 years later.

He founded Mxit in 2005, growing it from a small company with an eight-person team to an African tech giant with over 100 employees with users in over 120 countries around the world.

In South Africa, Mxit, a free instant messaging app with around 7 million users, has been described as the most popular local social networking platform.

Mxit, just like other instant messaging apps, can receive offline messages. For feature phones, they have group chats, chat tabs, and offline messages, all on data-light (technology that consumes 10 times less mobile bandwidth).

For iOS 7, Mxit 7 offers features like doodle and voice chat.

The company was, however, sold in 2012 to Alan Knott-Craig Jr. It then closed in 2015.

Although a web-based social networking platform, Afroterminal was founded in 2009 by two Diaspora Africans, Chioma Anyanwu and Charles Akpom.

It was an Africa-focused social network that would provide a unique online platform for Africans around the world to connect, share relevant news and information regarding the continent, discuss ideas for development continent and establish long-term virtual and personal relationships. term.

It has allowed memberships from various countries – with regular members hailing from all 53 African countries.

Another social networking platform built in Africa was 2go. The app was developed by 2go Interactive (Pty) Ltd in Cape Town, South Africa. It was created in 2007 by students from the University of the Witwatersrand.

It supports over 1,500 different devices, including feature phones, in addition to Android, BlackBerry OS, and BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

2go is a chat-based mobile social network targeting users in emerging markets, particularly in Africa.

2go users exchange messages for free, meet new people, and share updates and photos with friends and family.

In Nigeria, Yookos, a Christian-focused website, was founded in 2011 by the head of Christ Embassy International, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, to deliver spiritual messages to members of Christ Embassy, ​​Africa. However, it penetrated beyond Africa as the traffic steadily increased.

The website, thereafter, became popular and welcomed more people. In 2012, there appears to have been a deliberate push to expand the social network’s subscriber base beyond religion.

Yookos was later developed into smartphone apps where users can join communities, meet new people, and follow topics of interest.

It also offers users a platform to buy and sell in their local markets.

In 2015, the KingChat app was designed as a fast, simple and personal smartphone messenger that allows users to send messages. It allows users to send and receive messages, images, audio, location and video messages.

According to the research, many other social media apps have been created by Nigerians in Nigeria and Africa, although some of them have ceased to be operational after some time, many others are still functional .

Conclusion

Crowwe is not the first social networking platform in Africa. Several social media applications have been created in Africa since 2005. However, there are possibilities, this is the first social media application built in Nigeria with an additional online payment system.

The researcher produced this fact check as part of the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship’s partnership with SaharaReporters to facilitate the ethics of “truth” in journalism and improve media literacy in the country.

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