tiptrot.com June 24, 2018

UN Finds Facebook Partly to Blame for Fueling Myanmar Genocide

14 March 2018, 05:43 | Bernice Figueroa

United Nations human rights experts blame Facebook for spreading hatred against Rohingya in Myanmar

UN investigator blames Facebook for spreading hate against Rohingyas

A U.N. fact-finding mission has highlighted the role of social media networks, and Facebook in particular, in fueling hate speech against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, telling the U.N. Human Rights Council this week that "incitement to violence" is "rampant" and "unchecked".

Government spokesman Zaw Htay said the reports presented Tuesday by the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee lacked credibility.

Facebook "substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissention and conflict, if you will, within the public". In the past, the company has said it's working to remove hate speech on Facebook in Myanmar and to remove users who share this kind of content consistently.

Lee told the Human Rights Council that violent sweeps by the Myanmar army in Rakhine state that prompted about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh "bear the hallmarks of genocide". But she added: "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 ..."

"There are accusations from the worldwide community - and we will have more of them - but we won't deny them; we will prove [them wrong] with our practical work", he said.

'There is a blurred line between freedom of speech and hate crime, ' said Lennon Chang, a lecturer in criminology in Monash University.

Kept out of Rakhine, Darusman's team went to Bangladesh, Thailand, and Malaysia to interview more than 600 refugees.

Myanmar has not allowed United Nations investigators into the country to investigate. Investigators also analyzed satellite imagery, photos and video footage.

The group detailed "gross human rights violations", including indiscriminate shooting at fleeing villagers, burning of elderly and children alive in their homes, hacking people to death, and sexual violence towards women and girls.

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.

Officials have claimed that "clearance operations" against militants responsible for attacks on police stations ended in September, but that has been disputed.

"The body of information and materials we are collecting is concrete and overwhelming", the experts of the Fact-Finding Mission said in their oral report.

Refugees and human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, have accused the military of carrying out executions, rapes and the burning and bulldozing of hundreds of villages.

Facebook has previously discussed the problems it has faced trying to tackle hate speech in the country.

The social media company has a policy that bars hate speech that targets people due to their race, ethnic identity or religion. "But we expect this to be a long-term challenge".

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