- WhatsApp has been ranked as the most popular social media platform in Africa and it accounted for about half of internet data used in Zimbabwe in 2017
- Modified versions introduced by third parties have led to changes in internet usage by African mobile users
- Variations of WhatsApp, used in several African markets, often offer various packages to users unavailable in the original version
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Africa’s most popular social media platform, WhatsApp, has other versions which are more popular with users in the continent, a new report has revealed.
In Zimbabwe, WhatsApp accounted for about half of the internet data in the country in the year 2017.
However, its popularity has been under-reported as third parties have introduced modified versions, leading to changes in usage amongst African mobile internet users.
READ ALSO: Coronavirus: African countries have lost millions in 2 months – IATA
Known as “WhatsApp mods”, they are shared from one device to another or downloaded from sources outside official portals.
This, according to qz.com, implies that they do not show up on the download lists of major app stores.
Bryan Pon, the co-founder of Caribou Data, reveals that people are attracted to them because the apps offer several packages compared to WhatsApp.
GB WhatsApp, which is the most widely used mod across important African markets, gives users the opportunity to operate multiple accounts, restore deleted messages and send and receive larger media files, up to 50 megabytes.
It also offers users more control of privacy settings, including hiding features that notify others when users are online, recording a voice note or typing a message.
Users of modified apps can still seamlessly communicate with contacts using official WhatsApp versions.
Caribou Data analysed 230 unique app sessions in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa shows that GB WhatsApp was the second most used social messaging app only behind WhatsApp’s official version.
READ ALSO: Reports show African start-ups raised close to $2 billion in 2019
In other news, fears over the spread of the coronavirus have led to a surge in the refinancing of mortgages, Briefly.co.za has learned.
Mortgages refinance increased by 26% as people tried to take advantage of the falling interest rates. The interest rates have suffered a downturn as a result of the spread of the coronavirus.
The rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has fallen to the lowest point in over seven years as the coronavirus sparks uncertainty and anxiety.
A further reduction in Treasury rates has led market analysts to conclude that there is a possibility of an increase in refinancing activities.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), per a Business Insider report, the 26% increase in refinance applications was pegged at 224% higher a year ago.
The MBA also indicated that the application for mortgages also increased by 15.1% a week ago. It has also been determined that the increase in applications for borrowing and refinancing comes at a time when the average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage dropped below 3.23%, which is the lowest in eight years.
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