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.
The social media giant ranks Ethiopia in its highest priority tier for countries at risk of conflict, but the documents reveal that Facebook’s moderation efforts were no match for the flood of inflammatory content on its platform.
The documents are among dozens of disclosures made to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and provided to Congress in redacted form by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s legal counsel.
A consortium of 17 US news organizations, including CNN, has reviewed the redacted versions received by Congress. They show employees warning managers about how Facebook was being used by “problematic actors,” including states and foreign organizations, to spread hate speech and content inciting violence in Ethiopia and other developing countries, where its user base is large and growing.
None of the revelations from the Facebook documents are news to activists and human rights groups, who have warned for years that the social media giant has made insufficient efforts to protect human rights in Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country. [CNN]