A lawsuit says that Meta lets people post hateful things about Ethiopia.
In a new lawsuit, Meta Platforms is accused of letting violent and hateful posts from Ethiopia spread on Facebook (NASDAQ:META), which stoked up the country’s bloody civil war.
Two Ethiopian researchers and the Katiba Institute, a Kenyan rights group, filed the lawsuit in Kenya on Tuesday. It says that Facebook’s recommendation systems spread violent posts in Ethiopia, including some that led to the murder of one of the researchers’ fathers.
In the lawsuit, it was also said that the company didn’t take reasonable care when it trained its algorithms to find dangerous posts and when it hired people to police content for the languages that its regional moderation hub in Nairobi covered.
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Erin McPike, a spokeswoman for Meta, said that it was against the rules of Facebook and Instagram to spread hate speech or call for violence.
McPike added, “We put a lot of money into teams and technology to help us find and get rid of this content.” “We hire people with local knowledge and skills, and we’re always improving our ability to find illegal content in the most common languages in Ethiopia.”
Last year, Meta’s independent Oversight Board said that it should look into how Facebook and Instagram have been used to spread content that makes violence more likely in Ethiopia.
The plaintiffs want the court to order Meta to take immediate steps to hide violent content, hire more moderators in Nairobi, and set up a $2 billion fund to help people who were hurt by violence that was started on Facebook.
The lawsuit talked about racist Facebook posts that were made about the father of the plaintiff, Abrham Meareg, in October 2021. The posts said that the older man should be killed and gave his address. Abrham Mearag told Facebook about them, but the company didn’t take them down quickly or, in some cases, at all, the lawsuit said.
Meta has been accused for years of causing atrocities to happen on its platforms, such as in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Cambodia. This case is similar to those accusations. The company has said that it was “too slow” to respond to conflicts in Myanmar and other places.
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In the war that started in 2020 between the Ethiopian government and rebels from the northern Tigray region, thousands of people have died and millions have been forced to leave their homes.