Ethiopia to Build Local Rival to Facebook

Ethiopia on Monday has begun developing its own social media platform to rival Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp but it has no plan to block the global services.

Shumete Gizaw, the director-general of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA), said that the government wanted its local platform to replace Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Zoom.

The federal government of Ethiopia has been engulfed in an armed conflict against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) which controls the Tigray region in the country’s north for the past year.

Supporters of both sides have been using social media platforms to promote their own advocacy and propaganda.

Shumete accused Facebook of deleting posts and user accounts he said were “disseminating the true reality about Ethiopia”.

Facebook’s Africa spokesperson, Kezia Anim-Addo, declined to comment on Ethiopia’s plans and did not respond immediately to a query about Shumete’s accusations.

Twitter and Zoom also declined to comment on the issue.

Shumete believed that Ethiopia had the local expertise to develop the platforms and would not hire outsiders to help. He shared that a trial had already been completed of a soon-to-be-operational platform to replace WhatsApp and Zoom.

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