How Facebook Is Helping Spread Hate Speech In The Rohingya Crisis

by Garry Watts March 14, 2018, 5:44
How Facebook Is Helping Spread Hate Speech In The Rohingya Crisis

And, "as far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media", said Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the organization's fact-finding mission on the country, according to Reuters.

"Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar", she said at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, reported ABC Online.

The Fact-Finding Mission said it found evidence of human rights violations against the Kachin, Shan and Rohingya minorities "in all likelihood amounting to crimes under worldwide law".

Roughly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since Myanmar's military launched a crackdown on Rohingya people in Myanmar's Rakhine State in August 2017.

The interim report is based on more than 600 interviews with human rights abuse victims and witnesses, which were carried out in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand.

She interviewed more than 100 refugees in Bangladesh, and they told her bad things: "Parents told me harrowing accounts of witnessing their young children being thrown into fires".

"We are not denying rights violations but we are asking for strong, fact-based, and trustworthy evidence for the allegations they are making", Zaw Htay said.

In response to a question last month about the most prominent of Myanmar's hardline nationalist monks, Wirathu, whose one-year preaching ban has recently expired, Facebook said it suspends and removes anyone who "consistently shares content promoting hate".

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Myanmar's military had also advanced into Mutraw District in Kayin State, an area controlled by the Karen National Union, despite a ceasefire agreement, she said.

The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, has strongly criticized the worldwide community for ignoring atrocities committed by Myanmar authorities, accusing them of burying their "head in the sand".

Myanmar's envoy Htin Lynn rejected Lee's remarks and called for the council to fire her.

Facebook "substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissention and conflict, if you will, within the public".

Speaking at the UN's human rights council in Geneva, Yanghee Lee, the global organisation's chief monitor on Burma, said that the near-monopoly enjoyed by the social media site within the country allows it to be used to persecute the Rohingya.

In response to the United Nations criticism, a Facebook spokesperson on Tuesday defended the site's anti-hate speech strategy and said it had invested significantly in technology and local language expertise in Myanmar.

"Neither the fact-finding mission nor Yanghee Lee are impartial", he said. Because of that, it's been easy for ultra-nationalists to use the platform to stoke hatred against the Rohingya minority, who have been targeted by government forces, killed by the thousands and driven out of the country.

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