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WhatsApp and other social media platforms restricted in Zambia amidst ongoing elections

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Several users from Zambia have taken to Twitter informing the general public that WhatsApp has been restricted in the country amidst ongoing general elections today.

The president and parliamentary elections culminate in a face-off between current President Edgar Lungu and opposition Hakainde Hichilema.

Internet monitoring organization Netblocks further corroborated these reports, adding that multiple internet providers in Zambia had restricted access to the American social messaging platform. Some of these networks include Zambian government-owned Zamtel, Airtel Zambia, Liquid Telecom and MTN.

Just this week, reports circulated that the Zambian government had threatened to shut down the internet if Zambians “failed to use the cyberspace during this year’s election correctly.” The reports say the government intended to go through with its plans from Thursday, the polling day, till Sunday, when vote counts are expected to have ended.

However, the Zambian government, via its Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary, Amos Malupenga, came out to deny the reports, calling them “malicious.” Nevertheless, he mentioned that the government would not tolerate abuse of the internet and if any mischief occurred, there would be no hesitation to take appropriate measures.

“The government, therefore, expects citizens to use the internet responsibly. But if some people choose to abuse the internet to mislead and misinform, the government will not hesitate to invoke relevant legal provisions to forestall any breakdown of law and order as the country passes through the election period,” Malupenga said.

Zambia isn’t the first African country to witness this during an election as social media restrictions and internet shutdowns are now a recurring theme for most African states.

Countries like Cameroon, Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Guinea, Togo, Benin, Mali and Mauritania have faced social media restrictions and internet shutdowns during elections. A handful of others like Chad, Nigeria and Ethiopia, on the other hand, have experienced similar restrictions for unrelated events.

Most governments argue that they carry out social media restrictions and internet shutdowns to maintain security during elections; however, it’s glaring to see the process as a means to curb the spread of vital information among voters and the media within and outside the country.

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Today’s event shows that despite denying reports about an imminent internet shutdown, the Zambian government is heading in that direction by first cutting off WhatsApp. While writing on the WhatsApp restriction, Netblocks also reported that the Zambian government has proceeded to restrict other social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Twitter.

Still, internet users in Zambia are now using VPN services to bypass the restrictions on WhatsApp and these other social media platforms. Yet, it remains to be seen if the government will enforce a full internet shutdown.

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Instagram adds “Text to Speech” and “Voice Effects” feature to assist content creators to …

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instagram-adds-“text-to-speech”-and-“voice-effects”-feature-to-assist-content-creators-to-…

Instagram has brought two new features “Text to Speech” and “Voice Effects” to its platform. These features are already present on Tiktok. According to Instagram, users who create reels will be able to use these new features to make the reels better.

After Tiktok was banned in India, Instagram added a feature called Reels on its platform to attract content creators, although even after this, Reels has not been able to garner as much popularity as Tiktok, keeping this in mind Instagram is adding features like Tiktok to the reels so that more and more content creators will get attracted to the reels.

Text to speech feature will allow giving artificial voice to text. On the other hand, if we talk about Voice effects feature then with the help of the Voice Effects tool, you will be able to modify the audio and voice-over. Using these features will also be very easy, you will get a total of five-voice effect options, with the help of which you can convert ordinary audio into artificial voice including Announcer, Helium, Giant, Robot, and Singer. After recording a reel, tapping on a music note in the audio mixer will take you to the Effects menu, where you can add different sounds to your reel. Users can leverage these features on iOS and Android devices. Further in this article we will know how we can use these features to make a perfect reel.

Step 1: First of all go to the Instagram app and open the Reels section.

Step 2. After that open Instagram camera tocreate a reel or upload it from the mobile gallery.

Step 3: Now to write new text, you have to go to the Text tool.

Step 4: After typing the text, tap on Text to Speech at the bottom.

Step 5: In this option, you will see different options of voice, out of which you can select the voice of your choice.

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