Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Technology | By Christopher Mann

United Nations investigator blames Facebook for spreading hate against Rohingyas

United Nations investigator blames Facebook for spreading hate against Rohingyas

The Fact-Finding Mission said in an interim report presented in Geneva that "patterns of human rights abuse across the country are linked", with events in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states all "products of a longstanding, systemic pattern of human rights violation and abuse in Myanmar".

United Nations human rights experts investigating a possible genocide in Myanmar have said that Facebook had played a role in spreading hate speech against the majority-Muslim Rohingya minority.

Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was last week stripped of a prestigious human rights award by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, which accused her of doing little to halt the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.

At the end of February, Facebook removed the page of Myanmar monk Wirathu.

Social media has "substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict", Darusman told reporters on March 12.

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"Ethnic armed organisations have complained that the reason for this is largely due to the failure of the government and the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) to take steps to earn the trust of stakeholders", Lee said.

"We know that the ultranationalist Buddhists have their own Facebooks and really (are) inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities", Lee said.

"I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast", Lee told reporters.

In an emailed statement, Facebook spokesperson Ruchika Budhraja said in part: "There is no place for hate speech or content that promotes violence on Facebook, and we work hard to keep it off our platform".

What's more, Rohingya activists in the country told The Daily Beast previous year that the social network had been censoring their posts.

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Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed in November to begin repatriating Rohingya who volunteered to return to Rakhine, but the plan has stalled. The fact-finding mission is investigating whether the violence in Myanmar falls under genocide.

"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 spokesperson told the BBC.

Sri Lanka's government spokesman Harindra B. Dassanayake commenting on the ban said, "These platforms are banned because they were spreading hate speeches and amplifying them", while adding that the government believes fake news of ethnically motivated attacks circulating on the network encouraged retaliatory violence.

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

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