A get-rich-quick business that left thousands of Zimbabweans in financial dilemma dominated timelines, blogs and news sites in the week of Sept. 21 to Sept. 28, according to Google Trends.
Mr Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Google’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager for Anglophone West Africa, made the disclosure in Lagos on Friday.
He said that information about the suspicious online financial scheme had relevance for Nigerians.
Kola-Ogunlade said that many Zimbabweans were obviously wishing they could turn back the hand of the clock after losing their money on a popular online pyramid Ponzi scheme.
He said the information was particularly relevant to Nigeria as the scheme had already surfaced in the country and was receiving good attention.
“The Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox (MMM) Global Zimbabwe is a scheme that advertises itself as a mutual aid fund with a promised monthly investment returns of 30 per cent.
“Under the scheme, members contribute money to assist others. However, it is a network that relies on growing numbers of new members to pay off the old.
“It is linked to a fraudulent history that goes as far back as 1989.
“This scheme is currently in Nigeria and it is called MMM Federal Republic of Nigeria. The business has started to receive attention from Nigerians.
“On another day, there was another hoax in which some pranksters decided that the best way to honour number one Nigerian billionaire and Africa’s richest man in 2015 was to declare him dead.’’
Kola-Ogunlade said that the news of the billionaire Dangote dying in Germany after a short illness went viral on social media and was followed by emotions, including shock and surprise.
“But hey! Dangote had this to say via Twitter, ‘I am hale, hearty and alive’, Kola-Ogunlade added.
“People’s attention online was also captured by Google coming officially of age in some countries of course (and without rite of passage).
“Now that Google is 18, it can vote, buy alcohol, cigarettes and do other grown-up stuff.
“Google celebrated its ‘maturity’ on Sept. 27 with a special doodle displayed on its homepage around the world.
“Although Google’s birthday has been marked on Sept. 27 for the past 10 years, it has not always been so, as history has it that Google.com was registered on Sept. 15, 1997 and incorporated on Sept. 4, 1998.
“Furthermore, Google celebrated 2003 on Sept. 8; 2004 on Sept. 7; and 2005 on Sept. 26,’’ the Google spokesman explained.
He said that the Mexican Peso reacted with a rise, in what would be the first in a series of presidential debates between U.S. presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump.
“Anxious viewers watched a demonstration of raw energy as the candidates argued over race, terrorism and jobs.
“The debate was also a battle of emotional constraint, which saw Clinton wearing calm to force Trump into a defensive while the internet has been agog with who won the debate,’’ Kola-Ogunlade said.
The Google manager said that passion moved Okiemute Ighorodje, former band lead singer and model, who had gone on to win N5 million and a brand new SUV in MTN Project Fame Season 9.
“The 25-year-old graduate, with her contagious smile, emerged as a winner in the event, after an eight-week musical competition between commendable contestants.
“Elizabeth emerged first runner-up, while Kitay was the second runner-up, each taking home a saloon car with N3 million and N2 million, respectively.”
Kola-Ogunlade said that a much-loved series premier, Empire Season 3 was backed with fans (and perhaps the cast) already anxious for the next episodes.
“Picking off where Season 2 left off, the cliffhanger scene between Rhonda and Anika — fans who were eager to know who fell off the building discover it is Rhonda. “But will that mean fans will not get to see her character anymore?
“Another highlight Empire fans can look forward to is ‘Kitty’, a mega-superstar played by guest star, Mariah Carey, who is close friends with Cookie Lyon in the series,” the Google manager stated.
Google Trends, launched in May 2006 allows one to see how popular search terms and their demography have been over time on the search engine.