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Facebook has turned into a beast in Myanmar

Facebook has turned into a beast in Myanmar

THE widespread and systematic nature of the State-led violence against Rohingya Muslims in Burma (Myanmar) "points to prior planning and organisation", according to a new report released Monday by the UN Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar. This work includes a dedicated Safety Page for Myanmar, a locally illustrated version of our Community Standards, and regular training sessions for civil society and local community groups across the country.

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.

"It has substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict, if you will, within the public".

Facebook claimed it is "seriously" fighting hate speech on its network after the United Nations suggested the platform had morphed into a "beast" that helps spread vitriol against Rohingya Muslims. "It was used to convey public messages but we know that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists ... are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities". "Facebook has turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended".

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. Myanmar's national security adviser demanded "clear evidence". "Myanmar's authorities are erasing evidence of crimes against humanity, making any future attempts to hold those responsible to account extremely hard", said Amnesty International's Crisis Response Director Tirana Hassan.

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"We have invested significantly in technology and local language expertise to help us swiftly remove hate content and people who repeatedly violate our hate speech policies".

Calls for action have grown louder since the Rohingya crisis erupted past year, sending some 700,000 of the minority fleeing across the border since August.

Human rights experts believe safety can not yet be guaranteed for about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled the western state of Rakhine to Bangladesh after security forces carried out brutal crackdowns in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents last August.

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.

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The U.N. human rights chief said last week he strongly suspected acts of genocide had taken place. "Not many people had phones", Mathieson said in February.

The UN has said that the government has attempted to block its efforts to carry out an independent investigation.

The report of the Fact-Finding Mission, chaired by former Indonesian Attorney-General Marzuki Darusman, was based on hundreds of accounts by victims and witnesses of reported human rights violations, as well as satellite imagery, photographs and video footage. The offensive against the Rohingya included reports of murder, arson, and rape by the Burmese security forces.

Zaw Htay, a spokesman of the government in Yangon, said on Tuesday that two reports presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva a day earlier simply lacked credibility.

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