Facebook’s product chief discusses the future of media in Nigeria

Following the visit of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg to Nigeria in September, 2016, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox is in Nigeria to speak at the annual Social Media Week, and meet local entrepreneurs, creatives and content creators.

The talk which will be about the future of media in Africa’s most populated nation, is part of the array of conversations outlined for the 2017 edition of Social Media Week.

For the records, Chris Cox will be the most senior Facebook executive to visit the country since Mark Zuckerberg; an indication that the Facebook team has plans to develop the face of media in Africa’s largest economy.

Just like in 2016 when Mark Zuckerberg visited other African nations before arriving at the Sub-Saharan Africa nation, Chris’s visit to Nigeria is the first stop on a week-long trip to West Africa, before moving to Ghana and Senegal, where he hopes to learn about the challenges and opportunities that people in the region are subjected to. This trip will allow Facebook an idea on how to better serve the region’s content creators and developers.

For his talk at Social Media Week, Cox considers Nigeria as a melting point for creativity as a result of its rapidly growing mobile technology sector, its vibrant film and music industries. As such, there is a focus on how to expose the African nation to the vast possibilities that abound in the world’s digital environment; taking into consideration formats such as virtual reality, live video broadcast and various other new ways to tell stories.

According to Chris, “stories matter, whether the stories of our lives or the story of Africa’s growth and ascendance”.

He further calls on Nigerian storytellers which comprises of the filmmakers and the writers, to take their stories to the rest of the world, and not be cocooned in their local settings alone.

Reiterating on the need for Nigerian storytellers to tap into the limitless formats of storyteller that are obtainable in the world, Chris talked about how Femi Kuti and other innovative creators are using Facebook as an avenue to bring their fans closer into their word. He made mention of how Afrinolly, the creative hub where technology meets arts, is using virtual reality and 360-degree video to create exciting and compelling new storytelling formats.

On arrival into Nigeria on the 26th February, 2017, Chris’s first port of visit was the New Afrika Shrine, where, in cohorts with Femi Kuti, his musical hero, he accompanied on the Keyboard in one of Femi Kuti’s songs, while the entire performance was streamed live on the Mark Zuckerberg-owned social media platform.

“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 Chris, who expressed optimism for the media sector in the West Africa nation.

Riding on the innovative outlet that Mark Zuckerberg created on his visit, which includes the acceptance of local currency for Facebook users in the country, Chris Cox expresses that with more than 8 million Nigerians using the social media platform, Facebook is a great place for businesses to reach their customers. “We are listening to our community of partners, developers, advertisers and content creators to understand what we can build to best their needs”, he says.

In furtherance of its claim to have listening ears for the requests of its partners, from March 8, 2017, Facebook will be starting ‘Boost Your Business’, a series of free training sessions designed to help Nigerian small business owners understand how to properly assess digital platforms for the development of their brand. The sessions will be facilitated by trainers led by She Leads Africa in cities like Lagos, Kaduna, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan.