Senegal: Hate speech flourishes on Facebook in language used by 5 million

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03/08/2021

In Senegal, anti-gay hate speech spreads on Facebook without restraint in abusive posts that are written in Wolof, LGBTQ+ advocates say. That’s the local language for 5 million people in West Africa, so the activists are urgently appealing to Facebook for help. Activists at the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Collectif Free du Sénégal have reported hate speech to Facebook, but have not been able to stem the tide of homophobic abuse there, they say. One key reason is that Facebook’s moderators crack down on abusive posts on the basis of automatic translations into English from some languages — but no such translations are implemented for Walof, Collectif Free says. In contrast, they cited Facebook’s response to hate speech in Arabic, for which automatic translation is available.

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