Ethiopia is developing its own social media platforms to compete with US-owned sites like Facebook and Twitter, the country’s intelligence and cybersecurity agency said.
Information Network Security Agency (INSA) director general Shumete Gizaw said Ethiopia wanted to be “self-sufficient” in its communications.
“Honestly, the challenge we are currently facing is that social media platforms have become tools for political reasons,” Shumete said in an interview with UAE media Al-Ain Amharic last week.
The plans come as Ethiopian troops and their allies are engulfed in a war against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the north of the country that has claimed thousands of lives and pushed hundreds of thousands of people into disarray. conditions close to starvation.
As the conflict spreads, the government and its enemies in the TPLF are locked into a war of words, each accusing the other of spreading lies and propaganda.
“Potentially influential and truth-laden Ethiopian messages spread on Twitter and Facebook are quickly suppressed by Facebook and Twitter,” Shumete accused.
“What is beneficial for us is at least to develop our own national systems which can replace Facebook and Twitter and we are working on it.”
Shumete was not available to comment on the plans.
In June, Facebook deleted dozens of fake Ethiopian accounts linked to INSA ahead of the general election which saw Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s party win by landslide.
INSA was created by Abiy, who began a 20-year career in the military as a radio operator, in 2008.