UN investigation experts claim that Facebook played a role in spreading hate speech in Myanmar

UN Myanmar investigator said Facebook was a huge part of public, civil and private life, and the government used it to disseminate information to the public.


UN human rights experts investigating a possible genocide in Myanmar said on 12 March that Facebook had played a role in spreading hate speech there.

 UN investigation experts claim that Facebook played a role in spreading hate speech in Myanmar

A 3D-printed Facebook dislike button is seen in front the Facebook logo. Image: Reuters.

Facebook had no immediate comment on the criticism on 12 March, although in the past the company has said that it was working to remove hate speech in Myanmar and kick off people who shared such content consistently.

More than 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state into Bangladesh since insurgent attacks sparked a security crackdown last August. Many have provided harrowing testimonies of executions and rapes by Myanmar security forces.

The UN human rights chief said last week he strongly suspected acts of genocide had taken place. Myanmar’s national security adviser demanded“clear evidence”.

Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, told reporters that social media had played a“determining role” in Myanmar.

“It has ... substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissention and conflict, if you will, within the public. Hate speech is certainly, of course, a part of that. As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media,” he said.

UN Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee said Facebook was a huge part of public, civil and private life, and the government used it to disseminate information to the public.

“Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar,” she told reporters, adding that Facebook had helped the impoverished country but had also been used to spread hate speech.


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