Twitter Temporarily Suspends Trends in Ethiopia for Fear of Violence Escalation

Social media said on Saturday that Twitter has temporarily disabled the Trends feature in Ethiopia to ensure the platform cannot be used to incite violence in the conflict-torn country.

On Thursday, Ethiopia’s parliament declared a six-month state of emergency across the country to protect the population from rebels of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigre (PNLF) advancing in the capital.

“We are monitoring the situation in Ethiopia and are focused on protecting the security of negotiations Twitter. Inciting violence or dehumanizing people is against our rules,” Twitter said, adding that it temporarily disables trends in the country “to reduce the risk of coordination that could incite violence or cause harm.”

Northern Ethiopia has been beset by internal conflict since October last year, when the central government accused the PNLF of attacking a military base and launched a retaliation in Tigre. Neighboring Eritrea supported the Ethiopian authorities, although in the spring of 2021 it said it was withdrawing its troops from Tigre.

In June, rebels captured the city of Mekele, the administrative center of Tigre, and the government declared an unconditional ceasefire. However, the rebels later said they were launching a new attack. They took control of a portion of the Tigre, and entered the Amhara region, which moved them closer to the country’s capital, Addis Ababa.

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