Ethiopia Developing Own Social media Platforms to Rival Facebook, Twitter

Social media applications / Courtesy

Ethiopia is developing alternative social media platforms to rival Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter. According to the country’s state communications security agency, there are however no plans to block the current social media platforms.

The director general of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA), Shumete Gizaw, accused Facebook of deleting posts which he said, predict the true reality of the situation in Ethiopia.

The country has been engulfed in a crisis since last year after a war erupted between the government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) which controls the Tigray region.

Read: Ethiopia Suffers Sh10 Billion Loss Following Internet Shut Down

Supporters from both sides took their war online, trading words on social media.

“The government wants its local platform to “replace” Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and Zoom”, Shumete said.

Following the crisis, Ethiopia has been periodically shutting down social media, actions which international human rights organisations have condemned. The government has not issued a comment regarding the shut downs.

Facebook also declined to comment on the issue, but announced in June that it had deleted fake accounts targeting Ethiopian citizens. The accounts were linked to individuals associated with the authority monitoring telecommunications and internet in the country, INSA.

Shumete did not reveal any details regarding the timelines or budget for the development of the platforms. He however said that Ethiopia was well equipped to develop the platforms without help from outside.

Read: Uganda Orders Internet Service Providers To Block All Social Media Platforms Ahead Of Elections

He said that the development of a rival platform for WhatsApp and Zoom had been completed and are already being tested while the development for Facebook and Twitter alternatives were already underway.

Shumete justified Ethiopia’s rationale behind the developments, saying Facebook had blocked users who were “preaching national unity and peace”

“The rationale behind developing technology with local capacity is clear … Why do you think China is using WeChat?”

The social media platforms have not commented on the issue.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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