An Ethiopian man whose father was killed during the conflict in his country has joined a lawsuit filed against Meta in Kenya. The claim accuses the parent corporation of Facebook of stoking violence and hate speech across Africa. The lawsuit that was submitted to the High Court alleges that Meta did not respond appropriately to the presence of hateful content on its platform, particularly in reference to the conflict that has been going on in Tigray for the past two years.
One of the people who signed the petition claimed that his father, an Ethiopian academic, had been the victim of racist insults prior to his death in November 2021 and that Facebook did not remove these posts despite receiving complaints about them. According to Abrham Meareg, who is of Tigrayan descent and follows in his father’s footsteps as an educator, “if Facebook had merely prevented the dissemination of hate and moderated messages correctly, my father would still be alive.” Abrham Meareg said
“I’m bringing Facebook to court to make sure that nothing like what happened to my family ever happens to anyone else.” “I am demanding justice for the millions of my fellow Africans who have been harmed by Facebook’s profiteering, and I am also asking for an apology for the murder of my father.”
The petitioners are requesting that the court establish a compensation fund for victims of hate speech and acts of violence that were incited on Facebook in the amount of two hundred billion Kenyan shillings ($1.6 billion).
Unfortunately, we were unable to get in touch with Meta in a timely manner for comment. Another person who signed the petition was Fisseha Tekle, who is from the Tigray region of Ethiopia and works as a researcher for Amnesty International. Tekle has written articles about the conflict in the northern part of the country, and as a result, she has been the target of a barrage of harassment and threats on the internet.
The case was also submitted by the Katiba Institute, a Kenyan rights group. The Katiba Institute is demanding adjustments to Facebook’s algorithm, which it claims promotes and spreads hate speech. According to the petition that was viewed by the AFP, inciting, hostile, and hazardous posts “create discourse, attract reactions and shares, as well as encourage back-and-forth discussion in the comments section.”
It also claimed that the working conditions of Meta’s content moderators in Nairobi, who were overworked and underpaid, were “inhumane.” These moderators were responsible for monitoring eastern and southern Africa, a wide region that is home to over 500 million people. The petitioners alleged that this led to “systematic discrimination” against African users of Facebook, citing the platform’s prompt response in comparison to the attack on the United States Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021.
According to the lawsuit, several of the incendiary posts that were referenced in the petition filed by two Ethiopian citizens could still be found online. Fact-checking services are being provided by AFP through a relationship with Meta that covers the regions of Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa.