Why Facebook deleted Ethiopia Prime Minister’s Abiy Ahmed post urging citizens to “bury” rebels

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Why Facebook deleted Ethiopia Prime Minister’s Abiy Ahmed post urging citizens to “bury” rebels

A Facebook post from Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been deleted by the platform.

The post made on Sunday, 31 October 2021 urged the citizens to take up arms to resist the advancement of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Facebook, now Meta took down the post because it violated its policies against inciting violence.

In the post, Abiy said that the rebel advance was “pushing the country to its demise,” and he urged citizens to “organise and march through (any) legal manner with every weapon and power… to prevent, reverse and bury the terrorist TPLF”.

A spokesperson for Facebook, whose parent company recently rebranded to Meta, told the BBC: “We were made aware of a post by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister and removed this for violating our policies against inciting and supporting violence.

“At Meta, we remove content from individuals or organizations that violates our Community Standards, no matter who they are.”

Abiy had last November ordered a military retaliation against the TPLF after they attacked a base housing government troops at that time.

One-year after, the fight continues and key towns have been captured by the TPLF.

However, more sanctions from Facebook is expected after it has been heavily criticised for not being proactive enough to stop its platform being used to incite violence.

In a massive leak of documents last month it was revealed that Facebook had been warned that its platform was being used by armed groups in Ethiopia to incite violence against ethnic minorities.

Speaking to a US Senate hearing in October, whistleblower Frances Haugen said that the company was “literally fanning ethnic violence” in conflict zones such as Ethiopia due to its failure to properly police its services outside of the US.

Thousands of people have been killed by the conflict in Ethiopia, millions more have been displaced and hundreds of thousands are facing famine conditions, according to the UN.

Abiy is not the first African leader to go against the policies of Facebook, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari also had his post deleted by the platform including Twitter over his comment against the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) stating that the proscribed group will be dealt with in the language they understand after wrecking havoc on some critical Government’s structures and wanton killing of innocent lives in the South East region of the country.

Why Facebook deleted Ethiopia Prime Minister’s Abiy Ahmed post urging citizens to “bury” rebels

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