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Facebook ‘lets vigilantes in Ethiopia incite ethnic killing’ | Facebook

Facebook is under renewed scrutiny this weekend, accused of continuing to allow activists to incite ethnic massacres in Ethiopia’s escalating war.

Analysis by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and the Observer found Facebook is still letting users post content inciting violence through hate and misinformation. This is despite being aware it helps directly fuel tensions, prompting claims of inaction and indifference against the social media giant.

The investigation tracked down relatives who have linked Facebook posts to the killings of loved ones. One senior member of Ethiopia’s media accused the firm of “standing by and watching the country fall apart”.

The accusations arrive amid intensifying focus on Facebook’s content moderation decisions, with it previously being accused of playing a role in the ethnic persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

On Wednesday, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg revealed that former UK deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, would be president of global affairs, a move designed to help the rebranded company repair its reputation following the testimony of whistleblower Frances Haugen, who said it was “literally fanning ethnic violence” in Ethiopia.

It also comes as Facebook considers launching an independent inquiry into its work in Ethiopia after its oversight board urged it to investigate how the platform had been used to spread hate speech.

TBIJ and Observer investigators also interviewed a number of fact-checkers, civil society organisations and human rights activists in the country. They described Facebook’s support as far less than it should be.

Others said they felt requests for assistance had been ignored and meetings failed to materialise.

These failures, they said, helped to fuel a conflict in which thousands have died and millions been displaced since fighting broke out between government forces and armed opposition groups from the Tigray region in November 2020. Both sides have been accused of atrocities.

Rehobot Ayalew, of the Ethiopian factchecking initiative HaqCheck, said: “Most of the people have low media literacy, so Facebook is considered to be credible.

We come across [Facebook] images that are horrifying and hateful content. You’re not getting the support from the platform itself, that is allowing this kind of content.

They can do more [but] they’re not doing anything.”

Former UK deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg has been appointed president of global affairs at the rebranded Meta.
Former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has been appointed president of global affairs at the rebranded Meta. Photograph: Alamy

Meta rejected the claims, saying it had “invested in safety and security measures” to tackle hate and inflammatory language along with “aggressive steps to stop the spread of misinformation” in Ethiopia.

Among the cases where families believe Facebook’s continued promotion of hate makes it responsible for killings include Gebremichael Teweldmedhin, a Tigrayan jeweller abducted three months ago in Gonder, a city in the Amhara region.

A relative, who said Teweldmedhin was not political, claimed online hate campaigns and calls for violence – particularly on Facebook – played a key role in his suspected killing and many others.

“The worst thing that contributed to their killing are the so-called activists who have been spreading hate on social media,” he said, requesting anonymity.

Some posts, he claimed, would name individuals or even post photos helping create an atmosphere “inciting attacks, killings and displacements”.

He added that the family have been told that Teweldmedhin – who disappeared after trying to stop a mob looting a nephew’s workshop – had been killed and buried in a mass grave.

Teweldmedhin’s family cited one Facebook user in particular: Solomon Bogale, an online activist with more than 86,000 Facebook followers.

Although listed on Facebook as residing in London, Bogale’s social media indicates he has been in Ethiopia since August 2021, with posts of him carrying an assault rifle often accompanied by statements praising the Fano, an Amharan nationalist vigilante group.

One of Teweldmedhin’s family members believed Bogale’s “inciteful posts” had resulted in many attacks on Tigrayans in Gonder. In the weeks before Teweldmedhin’s killing, Bogale called for people to “cleanse” the Amhara territories of the “junta”, a term used by government supporters to refer to Tigrayan forces and Tigrayans more generally.

The post continued: “We need to cleanse the region of the junta lineage present prior to the war!!”

According to TBIJ, the post could be found on Facebook almost four months later, although Meta said it had since “removed any content which violated our policies”.

When contacted over Facebook, Bogale denied that any Tigrayans were killed in Gonder in early November, saying all Tigrayans in the city were safe. Bogale added that he would delete the posts cited by TBIJ.

Less than a month after Teweldmedhin’s disappearance Hadush Gebrekirstos, a 45-year-old who lived in Addis Ababa, was arbitrarily detained by police who heard him speaking Tigrinya.

His body was found two days later, 26 November, close to the police station.

A relative said Gebrekirstos had no political affiliation, but believes that disinformation posted on Facebook played a key role in causing the killing.

“People do not have the ability to verify what was posted on Facebook. Like calling people to kill Tigrinya speaking residents,” they said.

Compounding the concern is that, according to disclosures provided to the US Congress by Haugen, Meta has known about the risks of such problems for years.

In January 2019 an internal report into “On-FB Badness” – a measure of harmful content on the platform – rated the situation in Ethiopia as “severe”, its second-highest category.

Almost a year later Ethiopia had risen to the top of Facebook’s list of countries where it needed to take action.

A presentation dated 10 December 2020 evaluated the risk of societal violence in Ethiopia as “dire” – Meta’s highest threat warning and the only country to receive that ranking.

More than a year on, it is alleged the firm has frequently ignored requests for support from fact-checkers based in the country. Some civil society organisations say they have not met with the company in 18 months.

Multiple sources told the Bureau that Facebook only appointed its first senior policy executive from Ethiopia to work on East Africa in September, a claim contested by Facebook who said it had an “experienced public policy team” dedicated to the region for three years.

Meta does run a third-party fact-checking programme, providing partners with access to internal tools and payment for fact checks. Yet it has not partnered with a single organisation based in Ethiopia to tackle the misinformation surrounding the country’s conflict.

Abel Wabella, founder of HaqCheck, said Meta had failed to support his organisation despite first approaching executives more than a year ago.

The other major independent fact-checking organisation based in Ethiopia, Ethiopia Check, is also not part of Facebook’s partner programme.

Instead, Facebook works with two fact-checking organisations on content from Ethiopia – PesaCheck, which runs a small team in Nairobi, and Agence France-Presse (AFP) – but TBIJ said that both appeared to be based outside the country.

However Facebook challenged the claim, stating that “PesaCheck and AFP have teams based in Ethiopia for fact-checking.”

Although misinformation flagged by PesaCheck and AFP has often been labelled as false or removed by Facebook, content debunked by HaqCheck has largely remained unaltered and free to spread.

This has included false declarations of military victories on both sides, false allegations of attacks on civilians and false claims of captured infiltrators.

“As far as I know, support for fact checkers in Ethiopia by Facebook is almost non-existent,” said the senior person working in Ethiopian media, requesting anonymity.

“Facebook doesn’t pay the attention Ethiopia needs at this crucial moment, and that’s contributing to the ongoing crisis by inflaming hatred and spreading hate speech.”

A number of civil society groups have similar complaints of feeling ignored and sidelined. Facebook organised a meeting with several groups in June 2020, to discuss how the platform could best regulate content before scheduled elections. As of November, two of the organisations involved said they had heard nothing about any subsequent meetings.

Haben Fecadu, a human rights activist who has worked in Ethiopia, said: “There’s really no excuse. I’ve doubted they have invested enough in their Africa content moderation.”

Wabella added: “The problem is not specific to Tigray. Ethiopian citizens from every corner across ethnic groups are severely affected by hateful content circulating online.”

Mercy Ndegwa, Meta’s public policy director for East & Horn of Africa, said: “For more than two years, we’ve invested in safety and security measures in Ethiopia, adding more staff with local expertise and building our capacity to catch hateful and inflammatory content in the most widely spoken languages, including Amharic, Oromo, Somali and Tigrinya.

“As the situation has escalated, we’ve put additional measures in place and are continuing to monitor activity on our platform, identify issues as they emerge, and quickly remove content that breaks our rules.”

The company added that it worked with 80 fact-checking partners in more than 60 languages to review content on Facebook, including Pesa Check and AFP.

Additional reporting by Kat Hall and Zecharias Zelalem

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Global Affairs

Open Source Software (OSS) Supply Chain, Security Risks And Countermeasures

OSS Security Risks And Countermeasures

The software development landscape increasingly hinges on open source components, significantly aiding continuous integration, DevOps practices, and daily updates. Last year, Synopsys discovered that 97% of codebases in 2022 incorporated open source, with specific sectors like computer hardware, cybersecurity, energy, and the Internet of Things (IoT) reaching 100% OSS integration.

While leveraging open source enhances efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and developer productivity, it inadvertently paves a path for threat actors seeking to exploit the software supply chain. Enterprises often lack visibility into their software contents due to complex involvement from multiple sources, raising concerns highlighted in VMware’s report last year. Issues include reliance on communities to patch vulnerabilities and associated security risks.

Raza Qadri, founder of Vibertron Technologies, emphasizes OSS’s pivotal role in critical infrastructure but underscores the shock experienced by developers and executives regarding their applications’ OSS contribution. Notably, Qadri cites that 95% of vulnerabilities surface in “transitive main dependencies,” indirectly added open source packages.

Qadri also acknowledges developers’ long-standing use of open source. However, recent years have witnessed heightened awareness, not just among developers but also among attackers. Malware attacks targeting the software supply chain have surged, as demonstrated in significant breaches like SolarWinds, Kaseya, and the Log4j exploit.

Log4j’s widespread use exemplifies the consolidation of risk linked to extensively employed components. This popular Java-based logging tool’s vulnerabilities showcase the systemic dependency on widely used software components, posing significant threats if exploited by attackers.

Moreover, injection of malware into repositories like GitHub, PyPI, and NPM has emerged as a growing threat. Cybercriminals generate malicious versions of popular code to deceive developers, exploiting vulnerabilities when components are downloaded, often without the developers’ knowledge.

Despite OSS’s security risks, its transparency and visibility compared to commercial software offer certain advantages. Qadri points out the swift response to Log4j vulnerabilities as an example, highlighting OSS’s collaborative nature.

Efforts to fortify software supply chain security are underway, buoyed by multi-vendor frameworks, vulnerability tracking tools, and cybersecurity products. However, additional steps, such as enforcing recalls for defective OSS components and implementing component-level firewalls akin to packet-level firewalls, are necessary to fortify defenses and mitigate malicious attacks.

Qadri underscores the need for a holistic approach involving software bills of materials (SBOMs) coupled with firewall-like capabilities to ensure a comprehensive understanding of software contents and preemptive measures against malicious threats.

As the software supply chain faces ongoing vulnerabilities and attacks, concerted efforts are imperative to bolster security measures, safeguard against threats, and fortify the foundational aspects of open source components.

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By John Elf | Science, Technology & Business contributor Digital

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Choco: Revolutionizing The FoodTech Industry With Innovation & Sustainability | EU20

By Clint Bailey

— In the rapidly evolving world of food technology, European startup Choco has emerged as a pioneering force. With its website,, this Berlin-based company is transforming the way food industry professionals operate by leveraging innovative digital solutions. By linking restaurants, distributors, suppliers, and producers on a single platform, Choco is streamlining the supply chain process while promoting sustainability.

Let’s explore the journey of and its impact on the overall foodtech industry.

  1. Company: Choco Technologies GmbH
  2. Website:
  3. Head Office: Berlin, Germany
  4. Year Established: 2018
  5. Founders: Choco was co-founded by Daniel Khachab, Julian Hammer, and Rogerio da Silva.
  6. Industry: Choco operates in the foodtech industry, specifically focusing on digitizing the supply chain for the food industry.
  7. Funding: Choco has secured significant funding rounds from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners & Coatue Management.
  8. Market Presence: Choco has a strong presence in several European cities, including Berlin, Paris, London & Barcelona.
  9. Mission: Choco aims to revolutionize the food industry by leveraging technology to simplify supply chain management, promote sustainability, and reduce food waste.

Simplifying Supply Chain Management

One of the core focuses of Choco is to simplify supply chain management for food businesses. Traditionally, the procurement process in the food industry has been cumbersome and inefficient, with numerous intermediaries and manual processes. Choco’s digital platform replaces the traditional paper-based ordering system, allowing restaurants and suppliers to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.

Choco’s platform enables restaurants to place orders directly with suppliers, eliminating the need for phone calls, faxes, or emails. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of errors and miscommunications.

By digitizing the ordering process, Choco improves transparency, making it easier for restaurants to compare prices, track deliveries, and manage inventory efficiently.

Streamlining Operations For Suppliers & Producers

Choco’s impact extends beyond restaurants. The platform also provides suppliers and producers with valuable tools to streamline their operations. By digitizing their product catalogs and integrating them into the Choco platform, suppliers can showcase their offerings to a wide network of potential buyers.

Suppliers benefit from increased visibility, enabling them to reach new customers and expand their market presence. Moreover, Choco’s platform helps suppliers manage their inventory, track orders, and plan deliveries effectively. These features enhance operational efficiency, reduce waste, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable food system.
YouTube Channel

Promoting Sustainability & Reducing Food Waste

Choco recognizes the critical importance of sustainability in the food industry. According to the United Nations, approximately one-third of the world’s food production goes to waste each year. By digitizing the supply chain and enabling more efficient ordering and inventory management, Choco actively works to combat this issue.

Air France – Deals & Destinations

Choco’s platform facilitates data-driven decision-making for restaurants, suppliers, and producers. By analyzing purchasing patterns & demand, Choco helps businesses optimize their inventory levels, reducing overstocking and minimizing food waste. Additionally, Choco supports local sourcing, enabling businesses to connect with nearby suppliers & promote sustainable, community-based practices.

Expanding Reach & Impact

Since its founding in 2018, Choco has experienced rapid growth and expansion. The startup has successfully secured significant funding rounds, allowing it to scale its operations and establish a strong presence across Europe and other global markets. Today, Choco’s platform is used by thousands of restaurants and suppliers, revolutionizing the way they operate.

Choco’s impact extends beyond operational efficiency or sustainability. By connecting restaurants, suppliers & producers on a single platform, Choco fosters collaboration & encourages the exchange of ideas. This collaborative approach strengthens the overall foodtech ecosystem and creates a supportive community of like-minded aiming to drive positive change within the industry.

Future Of FoodTech

Choco’s rise to prominence in the foodtech industry exemplifies the reach of sustainability, innovation, and community. Through its user-friendly platform, Choco simplifies supply chain management, streamlines operations for restaurants & suppliers, and actively promotes sustainable practices. By harnessing the potential of digital, Choco is disrupting the future of the food industry, making it more efficient and transparent.

As Choco continues to expand its impact and reach, its transformative influence on the foodtech sector is set to inspiring, grow other startups, and established players to embrace technology for a better and more sustainable food system.

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— Compiled by Clint Bailey | Team ‘Voice of EU’
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The Implications Of Controlling High-Level Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

By Clint Bailey | ‘Voice of EU’

The notion of artificial intelligence surpassing humanity has long been a topic of discussion, and recent advancements in programs have reignited concerns. But can we truly control super-intelligence? A closer examination by scientists reveals that the answer is highly unlikely.

Unraveling The Challenge:

Controlling a super-intelligence that surpasses human comprehension necessitates the ability to simulate and analyze its behavior. However, if we are unable to comprehend it, creating such a simulation becomes an impossible task. This lack of understanding hinders our ability to establish rules, such as “cause no harm to humans,” as we cannot anticipate the scenarios that an AI might generate.

The Complexity Of Super-Intelligence:

Super-intelligence presents a distinct challenge compared to conventional robot ethics. Its multifaceted nature allows it to mobilize diverse resources, potentially pursuing objectives that are incomprehensible and uncontrollable to humans. This fundamental disparity further complicates the task of governing and setting limits on super-intelligent systems.

Drawing Insights From The Halting Problem:

Alan Turing’s halting problem, introduced in 1936, provides insights into the limitations of predicting program outcomes. While we can determine halting behavior for specific programs, there is no universal method capable of evaluating every potential program ever written. In the realm of artificial super-intelligence, which could theoretically store all possible computer programs in its memory simultaneously, the challenge of containment intensifies.

The Uncontainable Dilemma:

When attempting to prevent super-intelligence from causing harm, the unpredictability of outcomes poses a significant challenge. Determining whether a program will reach a conclusion or continue indefinitely becomes mathematically impossible for all scenarios. This renders traditional containment algorithms unusable and raises concerns about the reliability of teaching AI ethics to prevent catastrophic consequences.

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The Limitation Conundrum:

An alternative approach suggested by some is to limit the capabilities of super-intelligence, such as restricting its access to certain parts of the internet or networks. However, this raises questions about the purpose of creating super-intelligence if its potential is artificially curtailed. The argument arises: if we do not intend to use it to tackle challenges beyond human capabilities, why create it in the first place?


Urgent Reflection – The Direction Of Artificial Intelligence:

As we push forward with artificial intelligence, we must confront the possibility of a super-intelligence beyond our control. Its incomprehensibility makes it difficult to discern its arrival, emphasizing the need for critical introspection regarding the path we are treading. Prominent figures in the tech industry, such as Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, have even called for a pause in AI experiments to evaluate safety and potential risks to society.

The potential consequences of controlling high-level artificial super-intelligence are far-reaching and demand meticulous consideration. As we strive for progress, we must strike a balance between pushing the boundaries of technology and ensuring responsible development. Only through thorough exploration and understanding can we ensure that AI systems benefit humanity while effectively managing their risks.

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By Clint Bailey, Team ‘THE VOICE OF EU

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