Ethiopia Plans on Developing a Rival Social Media Platform to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp

Ethiopia is currently developing its own social media platform that will be a rival to power social media platforms - Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp.

Ethiopia Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp Rival
Image Credit: NetBase Quid

The state communications security agency said on Monday confirmed that though the country is working on its own social media platform, they will not block the global service or these tech giants.

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It is important to know that Ethiopia has been facing an armed conflict pitting the federal government against the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), this has been going on since last year.

So social media being the channel for both sides to share their opinions, they have also unfortunately used the opportunity to waged a parallel war of words on social media.

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The government now has made a decision to create its own local platform that will "replace" Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Zoom, as stated by the director-general of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA), Shumete Gizaw.

The main reason for this is because Shumete accused Facebook of suspending user accounts and deleting posts which according to him is that it "disseminating the true reality about Ethiopia".

The Ethiopian government has also been accused by international human rights groups of sudden shutdowns to social media services such as Facebook and WhatsApp in the past year, till date the government has not commented on those shutdowns.

So when will Ethiopia's local social media rival to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp be launched? Shumete declined to specify a timeline, but he told Reuters that "The rationale behind developing technology with local capacity is clear ... Why do you think China is using WeChat?"

He added that Ethiopia will not hire outsiders to help, that they have the local expertise to develop the platforms.

If you are wondering what he meant by "WeChat", that is a social media app owned by China-headquartered Tencent, it is being used in the country as their main social media and it is considered to be a vital tool used by the Chinese authorities to monitor its population.

In conclusion, Shumete told Al-Ain Amharic that they are already working on the Facebook and Twitter replacement, while the trial for a replacement of WhatsApp and Zoom has already been completed and will be made public soon.


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