Abrham Meareg and several other enraged Ethiopians are suing Facebook for allegedly helping fuel the destructive war that ravaged Ethiopia’s Tigray region.
This group would be suing Meta for the sum of $2bn (£1.6bn) and for the platform to change its algorithm.
According to them, Facebook was a proponent of some of the violence during the war. They alleged that if Facebook had been able to moderate its content, some of the violence may have been prevented.
In the case of Abrham, he narrated that his father was shot dead by armed men on bikes because of a post on Facebook that threatened to harm anyone who came to his aid
He also noted that before the attack, Facebook posts slandered and revealed identifying information about Abrham’s father. And despite reporting these issues, Facebook failed to address them and left threatening posts up until the man was shot.
One of the posts was removed after his father was killed, but another, which the platform had committed to removing, remained online up until the 8th of December 2022.
“If Facebook had just stopped the spread of hate and moderated posts properly, my father would still be alive,” Abrham said.
Meta responded, telling the BBC, “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.”
A representative of Facebook also noted, “our safety-and-integrity work in Ethiopia is guided by feedback from local civil society organizations and international institutions.”
The Tigray war which lasted for over 2 years claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the conflict between the Ethiopian government and forces in the northern Tigray region, with 400,000 others living in famine-like conditions.