NewsEconomicsEthiopia is aiming for its self-sufficient social network

Ethiopia is aiming for its self-sufficient social network


In the last year, Ethiopia has been at the center of a bloody civil war, an armed conflict between the federal government and the People’s Liberation Front of the northern region of Tigray. Both factions have used social media as a means of communication, information and even parallel confrontation, but now the central government has stated that it has started developing its own social media platform to compete directly with Facebook, Twitter, Zoom and Whatsapp. at the same time. A superapp entirely Made in Ethiopia, created and controlled by the government, which intends to replace foreign platforms. The director general of the government agency for information security (INSA) Shumete Gizaw explained that international services will not be blocked, but that the new platform will act as an alternative to social networks. Ethiopia, with a population of 115 million, has around 6 million Facebook users. Just Facebook was accused by the director of INSA himself of having deleted posts and accounts which, according to the government, “revealed the true reality of the situation in Ethiopia”. Accused by the government of acting against the interest of Ethiopian citizens, censoring content and blocking users, Facebook did not respond, rather explaining that last June, a few days before the national elections, it had removed a network of fake profiles connected to INSA. which monitors internet and telecommunications in the African country. While human rights associations have repeatedly criticized the Ethiopian government for unmotivated shutdowns of both Facebook and Whatsapp over the past 12 months, according to Shumete Gizaw, there is still no defined timeline or budget. , but one thing is sure: no foreign expertise will be hired, and everything will be done in-house. Adding: “The reasons for using only internal web resources is clear, why do you think China uses WeChat?”. The goal is in fact the same: to gain autonomy from the hegemony of Western social networks, with their policies and means of control that can exercise forms of censorship on official government communication. Freedom without any form of control. It is no coincidence that another great proponent of “independent social networks” is former US President Donald Trump who was banned from major platforms following the attack on Capitol Hill, inflamed by his statements on social media in which he claimed that the elections of November 3, 2020 had been rigged by inviting his loyalists to go to the facts. After the exclusion, the former president built a platform of his own, but it was short-lived. After a few months From the desk of Donald Trump is already offline, after having revealed itself to be a very weak experiment, that is, a blog from which Trump launched his accusations, leaving very little space for social interaction.

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