Facebook is facing scrutiny from Amnesty International over its alleged role in exacerbating violence during the two-year conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
Amnesty’s report claims that Facebook’s algorithms amplified the spread of harmful rhetoric and that the company inadequately addressed the issue.
Facebook remains a crucial source of information for many Ethiopians, but its role in propagating hate speech during the conflict has come under increasing scrutiny.
The conflict in Tigray resulted in a ceasefire almost a year ago, but Ethiopia continues to grapple with other conflicts. The Amnesty report highlights Meta’s “data-hungry business model” as a significant danger to human rights in conflict-affected areas.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has faced accusations of disseminating incitement messages. Meta is currently facing a lawsuit seeking over $1.5 billion in damages.
Amnesty’s investigation involved reviewing internal documents from Meta, revealing that the company failed to implement necessary measures despite repeated warnings. According to Amnesty, “Facebook’s algorithmic systems supercharged the spread of harmful rhetoric targeting the Tigrayan community, while the platform’s content moderation systems failed to detect and respond appropriately to such content.”
Meta responded by stating that it is actively enhancing its capabilities to combat “violating content” published in widely spoken Ethiopian languages.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous state, recognizes Amharic as its official working language, while other languages like Afaan Oromoo, Tigrinya, Somali, and Afar are also spoken in the country.