June 15, 2022 | BBC

Lack of non-English language moderating tactics permitting spread of terrorist content in Africa

ISD’s AMEA Executive Director Moustafa Ayad spoke to BBC’s Focus on Africa programme to discuss our recent report into terrorist content on Facebook in East Africa.

Speaking to the findings of the report, Moustafa told the BBC, “We found content on the platform that is over 6 years old, of ambushes of Kenyan soldiers and assassination videos. This content had been on the platform for a very long time, predominantly in languages that are not English. Facebook has an issue with moderating this content”.

There is a clear problem on Facebook with non-English languages being ineffectively moderated, Moustafa said. “Across Africa, you have a range of different languages that aren’t being moderated effectively. The fact that this content can be spread so widely and so openly is a central issue”.

The range and severity of terrorist content as well as incitement to violence was concerning. Moustafa told the BBC, “We did an analysis of 600 posts in Swahili, about a quarter of those were supporting violence or insurrection in order to establish a caliphate in East Africa. There were also posts claiming that democracies were a threat to Muslims across the expanse of Africa and that it was the duty of Muslims to rise up against democracies that were ‘unislamic'”.

Moustafa’s interview starts at 42:30.

Under-Moderated, Unhinged and Ubiquitous: Al-Shabaab and Islamic State Networks on Facebook” is available from the ISD website.