Zuckerberg humiliated as Meta sued for $2billion over Ethiopia

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The son of a Ethiopian academic shot dead after being attacked in Facebook posts,  Abrham Meareg, is among a number of people suing Meta. They want a $2 billion (£1.6 billion) fund for victims of hate on Facebook as well as changes to the social media platform’s algorithm.

Meta claims that it heavily invests in moderation as well as tech in order to removal hateful content.

A representative said that both hate speech and incitement to violence were breaches of Meta’s rules.

They said: “Our safety-and-integrity work in Ethiopia is guided by feedback from local civil society organisations and international institutions.”

The case has been filed in Kenya’s High Court and is supported by campaign group Foxglove.

Meta also has a content moderation hub in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict between the Ethiopian government and fighters in the northern Tigray region.

Last year Mr Meareg’s father Professor Meareg Amare Abrha became one of the casualties.

He was followed home from his university by armed men on motorbikes who shot him at close range trying to enter the family home.

Seven hours later he died laying on the ground as his attackers prevented witnesses coming forward to his aid.

Prior to the attack Facebook posts had allegedly slandered him and revealed identifying information about him according to his son.

Despite numerous complaints using Facebook’s own system the social media site “left these posts up until it was far too late”.

Mr Meareg said “If Facebook had just stopped the spread of hate and moderated posts properly, my father would still be alive.”

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He said that he wanted a “personal apology ” from Meta.

In a sworn statement filed with the court Mr Meareg alleged that Facebook’s algorithm promotes “hateful and inciting” content as it is more likely to engage users.

He also claimed that Facebook’s content moderation in Africa, is “woefully inadequate” with not enough moderators in key languages such as Amharic, Oromo and Tigrinya.

Meta – which owns Facebook – told BBC News: “We employ staff with local knowledge and expertise and continue to develop our capabilities to catch violating content in the most widely spoken languages in the country, including Amharic, Oromo, Somali and Tigrinya.”

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