Meta sued for $2 billion for inciting political violence

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Meta ceo mark Zuckerberg in front of a riot image to suggest the company’s part in inciting violence in Ethiopia.

Facebook parent company Meta has been hit another lawsuit, this time for inciting political violence. Meta has been blamed for allowing the Ethiopian civil war to inflame on its digital platform.

The type of hateful content that has been posted on Facebook regarding the incident is against the company’s terms of service. However, Meta has a history of poor moderation, allowing antisemitism and more to spread on the platform. Furthermore, the company is working on its virtual world Metaverse, a platform it has deemed impossible to moderate.

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Despite the company’s claims of moderation, it’s obvious to see that a lot slips through Facebook’s wide cracks. So much so that an entire civil war is being pinned on the tech giant.

The $2 billion lawsuit was filed in Kenya’s High Court by human rights group Katiba Institute and two Ethiopian researchers. In the lawsuit, it’s alleged that Facebook’s algorithm-led recommendations pushed hateful content onto users, exacerbating already existing hate speech against Ethiopians.

One of the people behind the lawsuit, Abrham Meareg, is the son of Meareg Amare Abrha. Abrha was killed in 2021 after a series of Facebook posts were published claiming the academic was using racial slurs. These posts were allegedly reported, but Facebook did not remove them.

Meareg explained that he’s “taking Facebook to court so no one ever suffers as my family has again. I’m seeking justice for millions of my fellow Africans hurt by Facebook’s profiteering – and an apology for my father’s murder.”

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Meta’s current response is that the content deemed responsible for Abrha’s murder is against Facebook’s conditions. Meta spokesperson Erin McPike said:

“We invest heavily in teams and technology to help us find and remove this content. We employ staff with local knowledge and expertise and continue to develop our capabilities to catch violating content in the most widely spoken languages.”

The Ethiopian civil war isn’t the only conflict that Facebook and Meta have been attributed to. In recent years, a series of atrocities in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Cambodia have been linked to hate posts sparking up on the Facebook platform. Furthermore, the February 6th 2020 assault on the United States Capitol Building was also linked to Facebook usage.

In similar news, Facebook has also been taken to court over human trafficking concerns regarding its employment of African workers. Via a partnership with a third-party, workers have claimed that they were sent across the country to work jobs they weren’t assigned to, mainly content moderation of vile content.