April 24, 2018

UN Finds Facebook Partly to Blame for Fueling Myanmar Genocide

15 March 2018, 01:40 | Darrell Baldwin

Myanmar forces construct military bases in Rohingya villages

UN investigators cite Facebook role in Myanmar crisis

Most recently, Facebook suspended the account of Buddhist monk Wirathu who is known for his nationalist, anti-Muslim messages particularly disseminated through social media.

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

Crimes verging on genocide were being committed against the Rohingya minority in Burma, and those crimes bore "the fingerprints of the Myanmar government and of the global community", the United Nations special adviser on the prevention of genocide said on Tuesday.

"It has substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict, if you will, within the public", said Darusman. Hate speech is certainly of course a part of that. "We know that the ultranationalist Buddhists. are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred". "I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended", she added.

A couple of days ago, the European Union on ordered Facebook, Twitter and Google to remove terrorist content within an hour of being notified of its presence.

They also said any attempt to deny the atrocities being committed in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states was "untenable", and pushed for an independent body to start collecting evidence to prosecute those responsible at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Facebook has seen a meteoric rise in Myanmar, a fledgling democracy shaking off 50 years of brutal junta rule.

Since violence renewed in Myanmar's Rakhine state in August 2017, nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees have fled to neighboring Bangladesh. The situation of things since then have not been any better with multiple reports of state-led violence against the refuges.

Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee (R) gives her report next to the Chairperson of the Fact-Finding Mission on MyanmSpecial Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee (R) gives her report next to the Chairperson of the Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar Marzuki Darusman, during the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 12, 2018.

"Whether or not we consider that the crimes committed amount to crimes against humanity or genocide, this should not delay our resolve to act and to act immediately", Dieng said.

Facebook said they take the issue "incredibly seriously" and have worked with experts in the country to develop resources and counter-speech campaigns, including a locally illustrated version of the platform's community standards, and regular training sessions for civil society and local community groups.

The mission's members were barred by Myanmar's government from entering the country, so its researchers interviewed refugees and others in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand.

Yanghee Lee, the United Nations investigator on human rights in Myanmar who has not been allowed access to the country to probe alleged rights abuses, echoed Zeid by saying she was "increasingly of the opinion that the events bear the hallmarks of genocide" and that she would press for prosecutions for crimes committed against entire ethnic and religious groups. It suspends and sometimes removes users who promote hate speech on the platform.

"The government leadership who did nothing to intervene, stop, or condemn these acts must also be held accountable", Lee said.

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