Twitter has taken the step of temporarily disabling the “trends” section in the conflict-hit zone of Ethiopia. This crucial step is in response to various threats of physical harm. According to the reports from the company, it is still monitoring the situation in the country and making sure that the social media platform is not used as a tool for inciting violence or unrest. This is what the company had to say about the prevailing situation,
“Inciting violence or dehumanizing people is against our rules. Given the imminent threat of physical harm, we have also temporarily disabled Trends in Ethiopia.”
What Is Happening In Ethiopia?
Ethiopia is in a rather sensitive situation at the moment, as a state of emergency extending up to six months was declared by the parliament on Thursday. This crucial step was taken in order to assure that the population was protected from the rebels of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray(PNLF), in case the situation flares up. The rebels are already advancing upon the capital and this has already created a rather anxious air throughout the country. The internal conflict has been going on in Northern Ethiopia since last year. It was triggered by the central government accusation of PNLF for attacking a military base, following which it launched a counter-attack. Ever since the situation has been quite sensitive and uncertain, aggravated by the advance of rebels on the capital.
The step taken by Twitter to disable the Trends in Ethiopia might gain a nod of approval from a good majority of people since it is keeping up with its responsibility of being accountable to society and keeping the ethical base in check. This might remind at least some of the flak Mark Zuckerberg had to face not so long ago for prioritizing profit above social responsibility and safety of the users. Perhaps Twitter had taken some sharp notes back then and is putting it to use at the apt moment. Either way, the nod of approval remains. After all, it cannot be denied that social media can play a very crucial role in triggering unrest and violence if not used in the right way. Thus it becomes all the more important to keep it in check, which is exactly what Twitter did by disabling the trends section in the conflict-hit nation of Ethiopia. According to Twitter,
“We are monitoring the situation in Ethiopia and are focused on protecting the safety of conversation on Twitter.”