Ethiopia will soon launch its own social media platform to rival Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, the state communications security agency said on Monday.
In June, days before national elections, Facebook said it had removed a network of fake accounts in the country of 112 million that targeted domestic users, according to a report by Business Insider.
Facebook said the fake accounts were linked to individuals associated with the Ethiopian government. Facebook, however, refused to comment on Shumete’s accusations.
Speaking on the development, Shumete told Reuters that the agency wants to reduce reliance on foreign technology firms that meddle in the country’s politics. However, it does not plan to block the global services. He added that Ethiopia drew inspiration from China, which bars US social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, encouraging citizens to use homemade alternatives.
Ethiopia’s cracking down in Tigray.
On November 4th, 2020, the observatory NetBlocks released network data from Ethiopia confirming an Internet disruption in the Tigray region. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the launch of a military campaign against Tigrayan rebels on Facebook and Twitter, and in the hours that followed, phone lines and Internet access across the country were shut down.
With the start of the war, it was in the government’s interest to maintain total control over the narrative. However, several human rights groups have criticised the Ethiopian government for unexplained shutdowns of Internet services. They cited many economic and humanitarian concerns contributing to the gradual worsening of the situation on the ground, adding that the war has destabilised the populous country in the Horn of Africa, leaving thousands of people dead with 350,000 others living in famine conditions.
Shumete declined to comment on a timeline, budget and other details about the country’s progress on the social media platforms. However, he told Reuters, “The rationale behind developing technology with local capacity is clear … Why do you think China is using WeChat?”
He also said Ethiopia had the local expertise to develop the platforms and would not hire outsiders to help.
10 things you should never do on Twitter
Whether you’re strictly business or getting personal on Twitter, keeping your Tweets attractive and followable requires a little attention to detail. And gaining followers isn’t as easy as losing them. Socialbakers has listed ten common Twitter mistakes you should avoid.
1. Don’t overdo it.
Excessive tweeting and self-promotion are among the many faux pas that will get you unfollowed or reported for spam. They come in three all too typical varieties:
Binge posting: There’s nothing more annoying than a column of Tweets all from the same person (or brand) posted in three minutes.
The multi-tweet: Remember this is a microblogging service. Being brief is the name of the game. If you need more than 140 characters to get your point across, then write it out in a blog and Tweet the link.
Pointless Direct Messaging (DM): There’s no need to send direct messages to new followers thanking them for their interest. Especially if you use this opportunity to direct their attention to your website or blog, you’ll see that follow quickly revoked.
2. Don’t keep the default profile photo.
On the Internet as in real life, first impressions are almost always visual, and your profile photo can set the tone for your content. So don’t stick with Twitter’s default profile image. Whether you’re Tweeting for your personal or professional brand, your profile image and cover photo should be well lit, cropped and optimized for web use.
3. Don’t abuse the hashtag.
The # symbol has had its own little renaissance thanks to Twitter. Hashtagging keywords or topics in your tweets is an effective means of tracking and participating in events, conversation and disaster recovery. But before you publish that Tweet, search your hashtags to make sure the results, if any, are consistent with your message.
And don’t add too many! A litter of hashtags will just cloud your message and make your tweet difficult to read. Lastly, avoid using the hashtag merely for #emphasis or #context. #Itsdumb.
4. Don’t just auto-tweet.
If you’re on several social networks, change up your message and technique for each one, especially since they offer different formatting options. When Tweeting from another website (to share their content on your timeline) you’ll often have the Tweet written for you. Edit that Tweet and give it a bit of your own style before publishing.
5. Don’t forget your is not you’re.
Grammar and spelling mistakes significantly reduce the impact of your content. Take a minute to proof read your Tweet. It’s not just your content’s readability and attractiveness at stake, but repeated errors can get you ignored or reported for spam; not to mention being ridiculed by Twitter’s grammar police.
6. Don’t get involved in debates.
You won’t have the last word on Twitter, because there is no last word on Twitter! So don’t get involved in drawn out, heated debates. Make your point (concisely!) and disagree amicably if needed.
Tweeting your brand can be tricky when tempers flare. But one directive is to never, ever go on the offense. And never use abusive, threatening language (that should really go without saying). If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to draw up some social media guidelines for your team to follow.
7. Don’t be shy.
The more you Tweet, the more likely you’ll be Retweeted and replied to, building your audience on the social network. (Just avoid the habits discussed in point 1.) Keep your profile complete, accurate and updated. Tweeting regularly (with great content, of course) will attract more followers faster.
8. Don’t beg.
If you’re going to ask for a Retweet, do it right.
9. Don’t pretend your account has been hacked.
There have been some moderate (and debatable) success stories, like Chipotle’s fake hack. But follower backlash can generate a whirlwind of negative PR. It’s a risky move especially with today’s cyber sensitive headlines. So if you’re going to do it, at least be creative enough to give it a concept, or some clue that it’s a prank.
10. Don’t Facebook on Twitter.
Every social network has its own etiquette, terminology and sub cultures. If Facebook is one big living room, Twitter is one big cocktail party. So strive to be personable but avoid overly personal topics. Just stay on your beat and write (and Retweet) relevant and interesting content. This and the preceding don’ts should keep your followers multiplying and anticipating your next Tweet.
Apple will fix iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro phones with sound issues for free
A phone that doesn’t play sound properly during calls isn’t much of a phone at all. This is unfortunately happening to some iPhone 12 devices, but Apple will fix it for free.
The company posted a new page to its support website advertising a free service to fix phones with busted sound hardware. Specifically, it’s for a “small percentage” of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models manufactured between Oct. 2020 and April 2021. Apparently, some phones fitting that description have faulty components causing sound to not come through the receiver during phone calls, and Apple is offering to fix it without touching your bank account.
This can be arranged through a local Apple Store, an authorized service provider, or just by mailing your phone in and waiting for aPPLE to mail it back. There are a couple of important things to note here, though.
First, iPhone 12 Max and Mini models aren’t eligible for this service, so if you have this issue with one of those prepare for a fight to get it serviced for free. Second, “damage that impairs the ability to complete the repair” like a cracked screen needs to be fixed separately before you hand the faulty phone over to fix the sound issue. That might cost money, depending on the problem and where you get it repaired.
It’s obviously pretty lousy if your iPhone can’t properly make phone calls, and these repairs could take time. Ideally you’d have a backup option available, but you may have to live without that phone for a little while before Apple fixes it again. At least it won’t cost you anything.
Facebook report claims decline in hate speech
A report says hate speech is declining on Facebook. The problem? The report is from Facebook. And activists say it’s missing valuable context, data, and transparency.
“This report fails to answer simple questions we have been asking for years: How much hate speech is there on Facebook? How many users are exposed to it?” Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, told Mashable. “When we tested their moderation systems in our study Failure to Protect, we found Facebook failed to act on 89 [percent] of anti-Semitic content reported to them and is still hosting groups with tens of thousands of members that are dedicated to anti-Jewish hatred.”
Facebook’s Community Standards Enforcement Report claims that hate speech currently represents just five posts in 10,000, down from between five and six in the first three months of this year. Facebook also says it removed 90 percent of hate speech before a user had the chance to report it.
Guy Rosen, vice president of integrity at Facebook, told the press on Wednesday that the company has increased the pace of hate speech removal “very significantly” thanks to artificial intelligence.
“Today, the vast majority of what we remove is detected by our systems before people have even reported them.”
While the data might look positive, it’s hard for experts to tell just what they’re looking at. As Dave Sifry, the ADL’s vice president of the Center on Technology and Society, told Mashable over email, “we have no idea where this data came from, what it actually measures, or what the margin of error is because the numbers have not been subject to any sort of external review by experts who have access to the data and the methodologies used to calculate these numbers.”
“Facebook has shown again and again that it will put out numbers and ‘data’ that are unaudited, unverified, and unaccountable. Even worse than that, Facebook actively works against independent researchers who are investigating its platforms,” Sifry said in reference to Facebook blocking a team of NYU researchers from studying political ads and COVID-19 misinformation just weeks ago. “Until Facebook commits to transparency, any numbers it releases are at best circumspect, and at worst dangerously underestimate the problem.”
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