Source: Amnesty International –
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg likes to sing the praises of his platform as a champion for freedom of expression, but this rings hollow for many journalists in Somalia.
Somali journalists already have one of the toughest jobs in the world. They often risk their lives to cover the country’s conflict, where government forces are pitted against the armed group Al-Shabaab. To make matters worse they often face reprisals from either side. Journalists reporting critically on the government risk government blacklisting, harassment and censorship; but they also face death at the hands of Al Shabaab should they report negatively on the armed group’s activities.
Social media platforms such as Facebook offer a lifeline for communities to receive independent news directly from Somali journalists. Yet for many leading Somali journalists, their job became even more difficult when Facebook suddenly silenced them.
It is against this context social media platforms such as Facebook offer a lifeline for communities to receive independent news directly from Somali journalists. Yet for many leading Somali journalists, their job became even more difficult when Facebook suddenly silenced them.
Ali Adan Mumin, an independent journalist, woke up to an email from Facebook on 16 June 2019, informing him that he had suddenly become ineligible to use the platform and that the decision was final. After pressing Facebook for an explanation, he was told his account had been shut down due to purported violations of Facebook’s Community Standards.
Astonishingly, nine other leading Somali journalists received the exact same message from Facebook that day: the tech giant had decided to shut out these journalists from public debate in Somalia. That was it. No further rationale was given, and no avenue of appeal was available.
I had around 60,000 followers and I lost my account just like that. I think someone from the government reported me to Facebook. I no longer have access to my account, I have to start it from scratch, it is not fair.