Meta hit with lawsuit over Ethiopia posts

STORY: Meta was accused of inflaming the Ethiopian civil war on Wednesday (December 14).

The allegation came during a lawsuit brought by two Ethiopian researchers and a Kenyan rights group.

Meta is accused of allowing violent and hateful posts to spread on Facebook.

The plaintiffs said the social network's recommendation systems amplified violent posts in Ethiopia - where thousands were killed in a conflict between the federal government and rebels in northern Tigray.

Several posts are alleged to have preceded the murder of the father of one of the researchers.

Mercy Mutemi is a lawyer for the researchers.

"The case my clients have made is that, not only does Facebook allow such content to be on the platform, they prioritize it and they make money from such content. Why are they allowed to do that?"

A Meta spokesperson said hate speech and incitement to violence were against the rules of Facebook and Instagram.

The plaintiffs have asked the court to order Meta to take emergency steps to demote violent content.

They want to see more staff at its regional moderation hub in Nairobi.

They have also called for restitution funds of about $2 billion for global victims of violence incited on Facebook.

The lawsuit alleges that the father of Abrham Meareg, one of the Ethiopian researchers, faced ethnic slurs and calls for his death in Facebook posts that revealed where he lived.

It alleges that Abrham reported them to Facebook immediately, but the company failed to remove them promptly or in some cases at all.

According to the lawsuit, Abrham's father, an ethnic Tigrayan, was murdered in November last year.