Ethiopia’s LGBTQ+ community is grappling with a surge in online harassment and physical assaults. Attributing a significant portion of the blame to the social media giant TikTok. Activists assert that TikTok is failing to effectively remove posts that openly call for the brutal treatment and even execution of homosexual and transgender individuals.
A local LGBTQ+ support group, House of Guramayle, has raised serious concerns about the situation. They report that certain TikTok users are actively exposing Ethiopians by sharing their personal information, photos, and online profiles.
The nation’s conservative stance, coupled with its population of approximately 120 million adherents split between Christianity and Islam. It has created a challenging environment for LGBTQ+ individuals. While they have historically endured various forms of abuse. Advocates emphasize that the current level of hostility has escalated to an alarming degree.
Bahiru Shewaye, co-founder of House of Guramayle, stressed the platform’s role in inciting violence. Shewaye expressed frustration at TikTok’s lack of response, despite multiple reported videos containing explicit calls for harm. “TikTok is being used to incite violence,” Shewaye affirmed. Adding that they are eagerly awaiting decisive action from the platform.
Despite multiple attempts to solicit a response, TikTok remained silent on the matter.
Recent scrutiny has uncovered several videos that blatantly breach TikTok’s community guidelines by actively promoting violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In one particularly distressing video, a prominent evangelical Christian pastor can be seen urging for the public whipping of gay individuals while they are stripped naked.
The pastor, whose TikTok account boasts over 250,000 followers, also suggested that such actions could lead to global condemnation of Ethiopia’s treatment of the LGBTQ+ community. The video, uploaded on August 5, underscores the severity of the content being circulated.
As the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights continues in Ethiopia, these incidents highlight the pressing need for stricter content moderation. And the creation of safe online spaces that reject violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.