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Our work to protect the integrity of the conversation in Ethiopia

By Twitter Safety
Wednesday, 17 November 2021

We continue to monitor the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia closely, and our focus remains to protect the safety and integrity of the conversation on Twitter. This is an exceptionally volatile time, where certain types of content online can have a very real impact offline. Today, we’d like to share more on our response to date.

In times of crisis, there are a number of tools we deploy to ensure harmful content is not amplified and to limit the visibility of such content across Twitter.

In Ethiopia, we’re focused on proactively reviewing Tweets for violative content, along with ongoing enforcement of our policies against dehumanizing speech and content that promotes violence and discrimination. Though we aim to enforce our rules as equitably and even-handedly as possible, our first priority is the safety of the people on Twitter and those on the ground.

We operate in favor of action. We look at specific indicators of offline harm to guide our product interventions, and, in a crisis situation, are willing to risk potential false positives and reverse our decisions, if appealed.

Specifically, we’ve:

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  • Paused Trends in Ethiopia, given the potential for harm and attempts to manipulate trending topics.
  • Paused List discovery, to limit the targeting and harassment of individuals.
  • Launched a search prompt with relevant keywords that points to a Twitter Moment with digital safety and security resources.
  • Halted advertisements in the region.
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We also continue to:

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  • Monitor the service for signs of platform manipulation and spam based on behavior and building new detections and mitigations for “copypasta” and other types of platform manipulation that we’ve observed in the context of the crisis.
  • Deamplify harmful content, including claims that create risk of harm to humanitarian workers on the ground.
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Our action is informed by conversations with a wide range of trusted partners including local and international civil society organizations and experts to ensure diverse perspectives and understand what they’re seeing.

We believe Twitter is a place for different voices and perspectives to be heard. Our rules are enforced objectively on content and accounts — we remain neutral to political identity and ideology. And, when possible, we strive to ensure our actions are proportionate to the propensity for harm.

We are constantly updating our approach and reviewing remediations holistically before deciding on a course of action, while doing everything we can to reduce harm.

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