Ethiopia is developing ‘own’ versions of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Zoom


Ethiopia’s government is currently planning to develop its own local social media platforms to replace Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Zoom.

Ethiopia is developing ‘own’ versions of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Zoom
3D printed Facebook and WhatsApp logos and keyboard buttons are placed on a computer motherboard in this illustration taken January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Ethiopian Information Network Security Agency director general Shumete Gizaw told Reuters on Monday, the government doesn’t plan to block any of the American-owned platforms, but it wants to reduce reliance on foreign technology firms that meddle in the country’s politics.

Shumete accused Facebook of deleting posts and user accounts which he said were “disseminating the true reality about Ethiopia.”

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. Facebook said the fake accounts were linked to individuals associated with the Ethiopian government.

Human rights groups have also criticized the Ethiopian government for unexplained shutdowns to social media services including Facebook and WhatsApp over the past year. 

Shumete said said that Ethiopia was drawing inspiration from China, which blocks US social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, encouraging citizens to use homemade alternatives. 

The government spokesperson also revealed that “a trial has already been completed of a platform to replace WhatsApp and Zoom and that platform will soon be operational.” 

Representative of Facebook Inc. Owned platforms - Facebook, WhatsApp, and Zoom yet to make comments.

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