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Son Sues Meta For His Father’s Death In Ethiopia

A son sues Meta for his father’s death In Ethiopia. Abraham Meareg, the son of a professor and an Ethiopian academic, claims that his father was murdered after being repeatedly attacked in a series of Facebook posts.

Mariella Blankenship
Dec 15, 20222138 Shares54825 Views
A son sues Meta for his father’s death In Ethiopia.Abraham Meareg, the son of a professor and an Ethiopian academic, claims that his father was murdered after being repeatedly attacked in a series of Facebook posts.
Following the killing, Meareg is now among the Ethiopians who have filed a lawsuit against Meta, claiming that the Facebook algorithm aided in the spread of hatred and violence throughout the civil war.
These lawsuit filers are requesting a $2 billion fund for all those who died as a result of being a victim of hate on Facebook. Not only that, but the plaintiffs also want the platform's algorithm changed.

Activists File Lawsuit Against Meta Over Murdered Ethiopian Professor

Kenyan Activists File Case Against Meta Over Tigray Hate Posts

Meareg is suing alongside Fisseha Tekle, a legal advisor and former Ethiopia researcher at Amnesty International, and the Katiba Institute, a Kenyan human rights organization.
The plaintiffs want the court to order Meta to remove violent content, increase content moderation staff in Nairobi, and set up a $1.6 billion restitution fund for victims of hate and violence incited on Facebook.
Ethiopia is a country of about 110 million people who speak dozens of languages and are ethnically and religiously diverse. The Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups account for more than 60% of the population. Tigrayans make up about 7% of the population.
According to a Meta spokesperson, feedback from local civil society organizations and international institutions guides the company's policies and safety work in Ethiopia.
The lawsuit was filed in the midst of a bloody conflict in Ethiopia. After Tigrayans held their own elections in defiance of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the war began in the fall of 2020. Before Abiy came to power in 2018, the TPLF, a regional political party, had ruled the country for three decades.
When TPLF forces attacked an Ethiopian military base in Tigray, Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy launched a military offensive.
Serious atrocities have been accused during the war. According to a United Nations report issued last year, both sides "committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian, and refugee law, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity."
Facebook has been accused of allowing posts to fuel violence in other conflicts, most notably in Myanmar, where a United Nations fact-finding mission concluded that it was complicit in the genocide and displacement of the Rohingya minority.
Last year, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in California seeking to hold Meta accountable for spreading hate speech and misinformation about the Rohingya.

The Response Of Meta For The Law Suit

According to the lawsuit, Facebook's algorithms are more likely to promote hateful and violent content because it increases engagement on the platform.
According to the legal filing, Meta underinvests in content moderation in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Meareg is suing alongside another Ethiopian researcher and the Katiba Institute, a Kenyan civil society organization.
According to Meta spokesperson Erin McPike, the company guides its policies and safety work in Ethiopia with feedback from civil society organizations and international institutions.
We employ staff with local knowledge and expertise and continue to develop our capabilities to catch violating content in the most widely spoken languages in the country, including Amharic, Oromo, Somali, and Tigrinya.- Erin McPike

Final Thoughts

The social media company has admitted that it did not do enough to prevent its platform from being used to incite violence, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized to activists in an open letter, promising to increase moderation efforts.
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