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Twitter silences Africa's voice against terrorism and disinformation


Addis Ababa, November 06, 2021 — Twitter Inc said today it has indefinitely disabled its Trends section in Ethiopia over "threats of physical harm", the company said early today. 

Ethiopia's hashtags #NoMore and #CNNFakeNews were the trends twitter disabled claiming they were "dehumanizing". But they were actually anti-terrorism hashtags and hashtags against disinformation campaign waged against Ethiopia and it was being led by Hermela Aregawi, an Ethiopian and a Tigrayan, through the Horn of Africa Hub.

The hashtags among others were resisting a fake news being broadcasted by international media such as the CNN. Few days ago, CNN released unsubstantiated claim that the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), a terrorist designated group, were at the outskirts of Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.

This claim by CNN, however, was immediately discredited by Ugandan journalist, Daniel Lutaaya, who visited Addis Ababa on November 05, just after CNN's news.

"Watching CNN, and other international media before my flight, I thought I was going to a war zone. I was in Addis yesterday. In Adama now but there is nothing, No bullets, No tension, bars are open, No roadblocks. There is actually more Millitary presence in Kampala than in Addis Ababa.", twitted the award winning journalist.

Yonatan Tesfaye, Deputy Director of Ethiopia's Media Authority, also said "We were resisting the propaganda warfare waged on us on Twitter using the hashtags #NoMore and #CNNFakeNews. Ethiopia's tweets were gaining momentum better than the propagandists. But they collaborated with Twitter Inc to silence our voice. Still, our struggle will continue one way or another. We will never be defeated while Truth is with us".

"Very interesting that Twitter disables the 'trends' feature in Ethiopia, right when our #NoMore campaign starts trending to reach 10's of millions of people. The resistance will continue!", twitted Ethio-American Developemt Council (EADC).

Hermela Aregawi, who spearheaded the resistance hashtags, said "Help us understand Twitter. You let a hate/fear/violence inciting lie of a hashtag #TigrayGenocide run amuck for a year as it fueled war in Ethiopia. And now, when voice of the peaceful majority #NoMore is trending, accounts are being suspended without real cause & trends is disabled".

Twitter has also suspended accounts of pro-Ethiopian activists who were against the terrorist group, TPLF, which is currently creating havoc in Northern Ethiopia. 

Early on November, facebook also deleted Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's post after he asked citizens of Addis Ababa to defend themselves against TPLF terrorists.

Ethiopia is not Twitter's first African target, however. Last June, Twitter also deleted the tweet of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari after he said "zero-tolerance policy for all those bent on destroying our country by promoting crimes and insurrection".

Following Twitter's decision, Nigeria indefinitely suspended Twitter's operations and ordered the country's mobile networks to block access to the site in June, citing a “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria's corporate existence.”


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