Senegal restricts access to social media, suspends mobile data in some areas

June 5, 2023
6 min read

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Pitch Friday holds on Friday, June 9, 2023, by 3p.m. WAT at Zone Tech Park, Gbagada, Lagos! 💃

This is a Techpoint Africa event where early-stage and idea-stage entrepreneurs share their products or ideas with an audience and receive valuable feedback.

We're glad to announce that we've partnered with The Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL), a civil society organisation committed to creating technology solutions that promote justice, to host Pitch Friday.

The partnership is the result of the organisations' shared vision to identify and support entrepreneurs in Africa. It will help to shine a light on innovative solutions while preparing entrepreneurs for the HiiL Justice hackathon to be held later in 2023.

Attendance for Pitch Friday is free. Entrepreneurs and attendees can register to attend or pitch their startups using this link.

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • Bolt increases ride prices in Lagos by 112%
  • Senegal restricts access to social media
  • Court stops Meta from laying off content 183 moderators

 Bolt increases ride prices in Lagos by 112% 

bolt splash

Following the Nigerian government's removal of fuel subsidy, ride-hailing platform, Bolt, officially increased ride prices in the country on Friday, June 2, 2023.

I discovered this when I used the app to request a ride this weekend. Previously, it would cost between ₦‎1,800 and ₦‎2,000, but it is currently between ₦‎2,800 and ₦‎3,500. Although I was in pain, there was nothing I could do.

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The company said the price change is due to "increased operating costs drivers incur while driving with Bolt."

While it announced prices in different Nigerian cities, Lagos' prices were the highest. In Lagos, the base fare, which was formally ₦‎450, has seen a 17% increase, going from ₦‎450 to ₦‎527. Price per kilometre went up by 36.84% — ₦‎95 to ₦‎130.

The price charged per minute is now ₦‎23, up from ₦‎17, representing a 35.29% increase. Minimum fares on Bolt will now be ₦‎800 as opposed to the ₦‎650 it was in 2022 — a 23% increase. The total increase comes to 112%.

For more information, please read: Bolt increases ride prices in Lagos by 112%

Senegal restricts access to social media

Social media

On June 1, 2023, Senegal restricted access to social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, and Telegram.

This came amid widespread protest over opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko's sentencing.

Initially charged with rape, Sonko, a 48-year-old former tax inspector, was found guilty on a lesser charge of morally "corrupting" a young woman and given a two-year prison sentence.

The legal battle began in 2021 when a former employee of a beauty saloon accused Sonko of rape and issued threats to kill him.

For context, “corrupting” a young woman means the offender encouraged the victim, a young person under 21, to use alcohol, drugs, and sex. It is a criminal offence, and Sonko may lose his eligibility to run in the 2024 presidential elections.

Sonko, however, contends that the accusations against him were an attempt by the government to ruin his political career before the presidential election the following year.

After the verdict, in a tweet, Sonko's political party, PASTEF (Patriotes Africains du Sénégal Pour le Travail, l'Éthique et la Fraternité), urged all Senegalese citizens to take to the streets and protest.

This protest has destroyed several public facilities, including the university campus in Dakar's capital city and school buses.

As of Friday, some individuals used VPNs to get around the Internet restriction. For instance, a Senegalese man who tweeted at Elon Musk asking for assistance with Starlink, was reportedly killed shortly after.  

Sadly, the government suspended mobile data yesterday, June 4, 2023, in some areas, forcing many users offline and constricting their options for communication.  

Authorities say the measure is in place to prevent the "dissemination of hateful and subversive messages in the context of public order disturbances." Senegal joins Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mauritania as the fourth African nation to restrict access to social media in 2023.

Court stops Meta from laying off 183 content moderators


Last Friday, Judge Byram Ongaya of the Employment and Labour Relations Court blocked Meta, Facebook's parent company, from laying off 183 content moderators pending the outcome of a case challenging their dismissal.

The content moderators went to court in March after receiving notices of dismissal from Sama, Meta's former content moderator in Kenya, claiming it had split from the social media giant.

The judge ruled that the redundancy notices were illegal because Meta had issued the content moderation work and that the company should extend their contracts until the case was resolved.

This news came after the Court rejected a request from Meta to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the moderators who claimed they were laid off unfairly in Kenya in April 2023,

Meta Platforms Inc. and Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd. claimed that because they are foreign companies and do not conduct business in the country, the Kenyan courts lack jurisdiction over them.

However, the judge has ruled that Meta Platforms Inc. and Meta Platforms Ireland Ltd. primarily employed the content moderators in Nairobi.

Further, the judge said that the content moderators’ work is inherently detrimental based on the evidence presented and ordered Meta to ensure they receive the appropriate medical, psychiatric, and psychological care.

Additionally, he gave the government agencies instructions to evaluate the current state of the law and the safety of workers in virtual and digital workspaces, spot any gaps, and then report back to the court on the scope of any changes made to ensure that workers in these areas are protected.

Last week on Techpoint Africa

What I'm reading and watching


  • Substack is hiring a Product Designer. Apply here.
  • Messari is hiring a Senior Frontend Engineer (data visualisation). You can apply here.
  • SourceGraph is looking for a Product Manager. Apply here.
  • Coinshift is looking for a Senior Product Designer, Customer Success Manager, and Senior Product Marketing Manager. Check out this link to apply for any of these remote positions.
  • Several companies are looking for remote Product Manager, Software Engineering Manager, Data Engineer, Enterprise Account Manager, Security Researcher and Learning Experience Designer Jobs. Check out this link to see these roles and apply.
  • Gelato Network is hiring remotely for the following roles: Business Development Intern, Data Engineer, Develop Relations, Product Manager, Senior Frontend Engineer. Apply here.
  • Kalepa is looking for a Senior Backend Engineer. Check out this page to apply.
  • Paxos is hiring a senior IT engineer. Check out this link.
  • Infra is looking for a lead software engineer. Apply here.
  • If you are a software engineer, creative designer, product manager, design researcher, or a techie looking for an internship role, please, check out this website.

Have a great week!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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