Facebook’s parent company Meta is facing a class action lawsuit, alleging that the platform failed to remove hateful posts that contributed to the deaths of ethnic minorities in Ethiopia.
One of the lawsuit petitioners is Abrham Mearea, a tigrayan man whose father was killed in an attack that he says was a direct result of ethnically motivated misinformation shared on the platform.
Abrham’s father ,Meareg Amere was a chemistry professor at a university in Ethiopia. According to his son’s witness statement accompanying the lawsuit , filed in Nairobi Kenya. As a Tigray an, Amare was an ethnic minority in the region.
In 2021, a conflict escalated between Amhara’s and Tigrayans in the Ethiopian Civil War , with several accounts on Facebook sharing Amare’s name and photograph , posted comments accusing him of being a ‘snake’ and posing a threat of Ethnic Amhara’s.
Though his son saw and reported many of the posts to the platform, Facebook declined to remove them, the witnesses statement read.
On November 3, 2021, Abraham’s father was shot dead by a group of men who followed him when he was leaving the university, the lawsuit says.
Abrham’s father laid dead on the streets for for 7hours, the lawsuit adds, with his shooters warning onlookers that they too would be shot dead if they assisted him.
“I hold Facebook responsible for my father’s death,” Abrham told TIME. ” Facebook causes hate and violence to spread in Ethiopia with Zero consequences.
The other lawsuit petitioner , is a former Amnesty International Researcher , Fisseha Tekle, who gathered evidence of Facebook posts that the lawsuit says contributed to read- world killings. His work led to him and his family becoming targets of abuse , the lawsuit says.
Additionally, the lawsuit demands Meta impose measures to reduce the spread of hatred and incitement in Ethiopia.
Also, the plaintiff’s are petitioning the court to force Meta to create a $1.6 billion fund for victims of hate and violence incited on Facebook.
Furthermore, the lawsuit process that Facebook hire more content moderators with Ethiopian language expertise at its Africa hub in Nairobi.
The lawsuit was filed in Kenya by both of their lawyers. Reason been Nairobi is the base for Facebook’s content moderation operation in sub-Saharan Africa.” Nairobi has become a Hub for Big Tech,” Mercy Mutemi lawyer representing the plaintiff said in a statement.
Lastly, the company has been given 21 days to respond to the lawsuit in the Nairobi Court.
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