Facebook Admits To Suppressing Anti-Government Posts As Protests Rage In Nigeria

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Dylan Housman General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram have been incorrectly flagging protest-related posts in Nigeria as “false-information,” according to Vice. 

Users in the most populous country in Africa began highlighting the issue as protests against police brutality intensified on Wednesday, Vice reports. Posts that included the hashtag #EndSARS were stopped by a notification telling the poster that there was “false information in your post,” according to Vice. (RELATED: Facebook Says Removing Babylon Bee Satirical Article Was A ‘Mistake’ After Claiming Post Incited Violence)

A spokesperson for Facebook told Vice that the popular hashtag was “incorrectly flagged.” The spokesperson said they were working quickly to resolve the issue. The social media censorship comes as traditional media outlets are being warned against causing “disaffection, incite to panic or rift in the society at large,” making social media even more important for protesters to spread information, Vice reports. 

The #EndSARS hashtag refers to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a wing of Nigerian police forces that have been accused of violent and coercive tactics, according to Vice. The unit was dissolved on October 11th, but protests have continued, according to the BBC

Nigerian military forces allegedly killed 15 and wounded hundreds by opening fire on protesters in Lagos on Tuesday, Vice reports. After more than a week of silence, President Muhammadu Buhari emerged Thursday to call on demonstrators to “resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos,” per the BBC.

The latest big-tech scandal comes the week after Facebook and Twitter cracked down on posts about a New York Post story reporting on documents allegedly found on the hard drive of Hunter Biden. The Post has allegedly been locked out of its Twitter account for over a week, and the incident has prompted some lawmakers to suggest the social media giants should be further regulated.