Facebook shuts 20 pages claiming to be Ethiopian broadcaster

2018-11-21 19:38
Ethiopia flag (File, iStock)

Ethiopia flag (File, iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

 A major Ethiopian broadcaster says Facebook has shut 20 pages that falsely used its name.

Fana Broadcasting Corporate's announcement comes as Ethiopians complain that fake news reports in recent months have contributed to mass violence and deaths in some parts of the country.

"Based on our request, Facebook has shut down 13 fake pages in the past week alone. In recent weeks, a total of 20 fake Fana pages that were spreading fake news were shut down," Mekoya Hailemariam, head editor of Fana's online publications, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "The pages were using our official logo and mixing our authentic news items with fake ones to intentionally spread misinformation. Some of these fake pages used to have as high as 45 000 followers."

Ethiopia has one of the lowest internet penetrations in the world with about 15% of its citizens having access to the net, according to Internet World Stats. The number of people using Facebook in Ethiopia, is estimated to be about 4.5 million of its 100 million inhabitants.

"There are only a few independent and free media outlets in Ethiopia," said Befkadu Hailu, a prominent blogger in Ethiopia. "Hence, people are exposed to rumors, fake news and conspiracy theories. As such, they are exploited in many ways."

Ethiopia's reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April, has relaxed the government's control of the media, freeing journalists and bloggers who were in jail and unlocking several dozen online media outlets. But Abiy has warned on several occasions that fabricated stories are jeopardising the public's peace and security.

"Youths should refrain from taking measures based on misinformation and fake news," Abiy said in August. "This will only hamper our reform efforts and lead us to failure ultimately."

The Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, Fitsum Arega, also tweeted in August urging the public to "disregard falsehoods" and stay away from "fabricated stories."

In recent months, Ethiopians were exposed to fake news reports that sometimes led to violent and deadly events. One video that circulated four months ago purported to show ethnic Oromos throwing dead bodies of ethnic Somalis into a grave. The video was blamed for instigating a violent confrontation.

In another example, fake news reports last week accused the country's running great, Haile Gebrselassie, of renting the ground floor of one of his buildings in the capital Addis Ababa to security agencies that were torturing people inside. He later dismissed it as an "utter lie."

This East African nation has cut off internet in several occasions to curb the flow of information, notably during its two recent emergency rules.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    facebook  |  ethiopia  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.