Incident 471: Facebook Allegedly Failed to Police Hate Speech Content That Contributed to Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia

Description: Facebook allegedly did not adequately remove hate speech, some of which was extremely violent and dehumanizing, on its platform including through automated means, contributing to the violence faced by ethnic communities in Ethiopia.


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Kate Perkins, Daniel Atherton
In Ethiopia, disinformation spreads through Facebook live as political tensions rise · 2019

On July 18, two Ethiopian protest groups clashed in front of the Ethiopian embassy in Washington, DC, in the United States, as Ethiopia’s tense national politics spread to its diasporas. Protesters demonstrated their opposition to the curre…

Open letter to Facebook on violence-inciting speech: act now to protect Ethiopians · 2020

Civil society organizations, human rights defenders, activists, and individuals from around the world are calling on Facebook to immediately enact the recommendations listed in this letter and take action to stop its services from being use…

Facebook knew it was being used to incite violence in Ethiopia. It did little to stop the spread, documents show · 2021

Facebook employees repeatedly sounded the alarm on the company’s failure to curb the spread of posts inciting violence in “at risk” countries like Ethiopia, where a civil war has raged for the past year, internal documents seen by CNN show.…

Why Facebook keeps failing in Ethiopia · 2021

In late October, Dejene Assefa, an Addis Ababa–based activist known for his appearances on state television in Ethiopia, posted a message to his more than 120,000 followers on Facebook. The post exhorted his compatriots to rise up across th…

Activists file lawsuit against Meta over murdered Ethiopian professor · 2022

The son of an Ethiopian academic who was murdered during the country's ongoing violence has filed a lawsuit against Facebook parent company Meta in Kenya's High Court, alleging the social media giant is fueling violence and hate across east…

A New Lawsuit Accuses Meta of Inflaming Civil War in Ethiopia · 2022

On November 3, 2021, Meareg Amare, a professor of chemistry at Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia, was gunned down outside his home. Amare, who was ethnically Tigrayan, had been targeted in a series of Facebook posts the month before, allegin…

Son sues Meta over father's killing in Ethiopia · 2022

Facebook's algorithm helped fuel the viral spread of hate and violence during Ethiopia's civil war, a legal case alleges.

Abrham Meareg, the son of an Ethiopian academic shot dead after being attacked in Facebook posts, is among those bring…

Ethiopia's online horrors: 'I saw my father's dead body on Facebook' · 2023

When Ethiopian university student Moti Dereje logged into his Facebook account in late November 2018, he was expecting to see the usual updates from his friends and family.

Instead, the 19-year-old - who was studying in the capital, Addis A…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.