UN: Facebook has turned into a beast in Myanmar

From BBC - March 13, 2018

UN investigators have accused Facebook of playing a "determining role" in stirring up hatred against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

One of the team probing possible acts of genocide said Facebook had "turned into a beast."

About 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since Myanmar's military launched an operation in August against "insurgents" in Rakhine state.

Facebook has said there is "no place for hate speech" on its platform.

"We take this incredibly seriously and have worked with experts in Myanmar for several years to develop safety resources and counter-speech campaigns," a Facebook spokeswoman told the BBC.

"This work includes a dedicated Safety Page for Myanmar, a locally illustrated version of our Community Standards, and regular training sessions for civil society and local community groups across the country.

"Of course, there is always more we can do and we will continue to work with local experts to help keep our community safe."

'Incitement to violence'

The UN's Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar announced the interim findings of its investigation on Monday.

During a press conference the chairman of the mission, Marzuki Darusman, said that social media had "substantively contributed to the level of acrimony" amongst the wider public, against Rohingya Muslims.

"Hate speech is certainly, of course, a part of that," he added.

"As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook and Facebook is social media."

A colleague acknowledged that the service had helped people in the country communicate with each other.

But Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, added: "We know that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists have their own Facebooks and are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities.

"I am afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended."


Continue reading at BBC »