Congresswoman condemns online hate speech in Ethiopia, indicts Mark Zuckerberg

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A United States Congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, has condemned the online hate speech, mostly spreading through the Facebook in Ethiopia.

In a letter dated November 17, 2020, written to the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, Omar condemned Facebook’s roles in the ongoing violence in Ethiopia and around the world.

“Facebook can and must do more to prevent hate speech that has likely contributed to the murder of civilians,” Omar said.

The congresswoman stated that the letter became necessary in order to express her displeasure over the Facebook’s roles in the ongoing violence against civilians Ethiopia.

“I am writing to express my deep alarm at the role Facebook is playing in the catastrophic violence that has encompassed Ethiopia. Sometimes genocidal hate speech that is being propagated in many languages by many actors, both inside Ethiopia and abroad, has found a viral audience on your plattorm, and has almost certainly contributed directly to the massacres of civilians based on their ethnicities,” the letter reads.

The letter further states that Facebook is escalating the situation in the country.

“The situation in Ethiopia is precarious and has a very real chance of collapsing into one of the worst human rights and humanitanan crises in the worlid.

“Thousands have already died across the border to Sudan, which is itself in a deeply fragile transition from dictatorship to democracy,” it adds.

It states that the massacres of civilians because of their ethnicity and religion have become tragically commonplace.

According to the letter, the Ethiopian government has jailed dissidents, threatened to bomb civilian areas, and entered into an all-out war with one of its regions.

“Experts on the region and crimes are ringing the alarm about the possibility of a massive retugee crisis, continued interethnic violence, and genocide,” the letter says.

“You and Facebook should have learned from past experience. The role Facebook played in the 2018 violence against Sri Lankan Muslims prompted a public apology earlier this year.

“In that crisis, people were killed and beaten, and mosques and Muslim-owned homes and businesses
burnt because of hate speech that was disseminated on your platform.

“Facebook’s part in the genocide against Rohingya people in Burma is also well-documented Facebook has publicly acknowledged its failure in that case to prevent the formentation of hate speech and violence,” Omar said in her letter.

She explained that Alex Warofka said in 2018, regarding the Rohingya, that Facebook “can and should do more to prevent use to these brutal ends, but your ongoing contribution to
and genocidal violence in Ethiopia makes those words profoundly and disastrously holow.

“Instead we have found once again that, when societies become divided to the point of hatred, and when that hatred burns to the pont of targeted murder and massacres, there Facebook is in the center or it, as the catalyst and the engine of discord.

“In Rwanda in 1994, the orders to murder Tutsis by extremist Hutus bent on genocide were
famously issued over the radio. Mr. Zuckerberg, in 2020, you are that radio. It is up to you to it off,” the letter concludes.

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