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Censorship

Twitter Launches Crackdown On Pro-Tigrayan Accounts

American social networking service Twitter has launched an official crackdown on prevalent accounts commentating on the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia.

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of accounts that openly showed support to Tigrayan forces fighting the Ethiopian government have been swiftly disappearing into thin air.

Victims of the purge say they received notifications informing them that their accounts had been suspended for reportedly publishing content “against Twitter rules”.

According to a statement by the company, this latest move was inspired by recent abuse of their terms of use by users who engaged in “hashtag” and “mention” spamming, where specific keywords and Twitter handles are repeatedly posted.

“This is in line with our continued efforts to protect the safety of the conversation on Twitter related to the ongoing situation in Ethiopia,” they noted.

“We remain neutral to political identity and ideology,” they added.

Aside from the heavily followed and influential accounts, ordinary Ethiopian Twitter users who help amplify the controversial posts are not spared.

Many vocal Twitter accounts allied to the Tigrayan forces have complained of losing hundreds of followers.

In recent months, social media companies have come under fire over what critics have been saying is their inaction over the use of their platforms to spread hate and incitement.

In November last year, Twitter announced that it had temporarily disabled the trends section in the war-torn country and was monitoring the situation.

“Inciting violence or dehumanizing people is against our rules… Given the imminent threat of physical harm, we’ve also temporarily disabled Trends in Ethiopia,” it said.

This followed an earlier declaration of a six-month State of Emergency by the Ethiopian government in a bid to protect citizens.

Accounts that feel to have been unfairly swept away by the latest wave of suspensions have been encouraged to appeal against the decision.


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