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The son of an Ethiopian academic filed a lawsuit against Facebook’s parent company Meta this week, accusing the company of failing to remove hateful and violent posts that led to the death of his father during Ethiopia’s ongoing civil war, the Washington Post reported.

Abrham Meareg Amare said his father, Tigrayan professor Meareg Amare Abrha, was gunned down in November 2021 after being targeted on Facebook with inaccurate posts. The son said he asked Facebook to remove the posts – including a photo of his father – but the company did not reply to him until after his father’s death.

His lawsuit – filed in Kenya’s High Court – also alleges that the social media giant’s algorithm is more likely to promote hateful and violent content because it increases engagement on the platform. It adds that Meta does not properly invest in content moderation in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

Ethiopia is in the midst of a civil conflict between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls much of the northern Tigray region. The conflict began in November 2020, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched an offensive against the TPLF after the latter’s forces attacked an Ethiopian military base in the region.

Last year, the United Nations reported that both sides have “committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Following Amare’s legal filings, Meta representatives said in a statement that the firm uses feedback from civil society organizations and international agencies to guide its policies and safety activities in Ethiopia.

Even so, Facebook has also been accused of permitting posts that fuel violence in other conflicts, including Myanmar, where UN investigators said such content played a role in the genocide and displacement of the Rohingya minority.

Last year, a case was brought in federal court in California seeking to hold Meta accountable for promoting hate speech and disinformation about the Rohingya.

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