Meta Accused Of Allowing Hate Speech That Inflamed Ethiopia Civil War

Photo: Getty Images

Two Ethiopians have filed a lawsuit against Facebook parent Meta, alleging the company allowed hate speech that intensified the country's ethnic conflict in the Tigray region.

According to HuffPost, the suit, filed in Nairobi, Kenya, is asking for more than $2 billion in restitution for Facebook's alleged violation of the Kenyan Constitution. The plaintiffs say Facebook's Nairobi hub devotes far fewer resources to content moderation than the U.S. which has allowed deadly misinformation to run rampant during the Ethiopian civil war.

One of the plaintiffs is the son of Meareg Amare Abrha, who was followed home last year and fatally shot after being singled out in Facebook comments.

“My father didn’t get any chance to convince people that he was innocent,” Abrham Meareg told NBC News. “He didn’t get the choice to clarify the hate speech and disinformation. They just shot him and killed him in a brutal way.”

Fisseha Tekle, a former Amnesty International human rights researcher, is the second plaintiff in the suit. Amnesty International accused Facebook of facilitating conflict in Ethiopia along with Myanmar earlier this year.

Meta spokesperson Mike DelMoro said the company has “strict rules that outline what is and isn’t allowed” and works to “catch violating content." Facebook previously cited Ethiopia as “an especially challenging environment ... because there are multiple languages spoken in the country,” according to November 2021 press release.

In Ethiopia, a Facebook page with 50,000 followers targeted Abrha and other Bahir Dar University staff, claiming they had participated in massacres and were cooperating with the military.

“These posts were a death sentence for my father,” Meareg said.

Get the latest news 24/7 on The Black Information Network. Listen now on the iHeartRadio app or click HERE to tune in live.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content