Facebook spreading hate speech in Myanmar, says UN

Facebook spreading hate speech in Myanmar, says UN

The government of Sri Lanka also sought to block access to Facebook and two other of its social services, WhatsApp and Instagram, in an attempt to stem mob violence against its local Muslim minority - citing inflammatory social media posts, according to TechCrunch.

Adama Dieng, who this past week visited Bangladesh's refugee camps and met officials, also urged the UN Security Council to hold Myanmar to account over the "international crimes".

While the Malaysian government is carrying out new laws to stamp out fake news in the country, the United Nations (UN) recently blamed social media, as the beast that is instigating violence, especially against Myanmar's ethnic minority Muslim community, the Rohingyas.

Over 671,000 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority have fled Myanmar's western Rakhine state for neighboring Bangladesh since August 25, many bearing tales of atrocities committed by Myanmar's military, including executions, gang rapes, and the razing of homes and villages.

There have been many harrowing testimonies of executions and rapes by Myanmar security forces.

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

"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.

Myanmar's government on Tuesday rejected two reports presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council that concluded it committed extreme human rights violations, probably amounting to crimes under worldwide law, in its repression of several minority groups.

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".

When asked whether the platform was good or bad for the emerging democracy, United Nations special rapporteur Yanghee Lee told reporters it was both but had incited "a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities".

"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", the spokesperson added.

She further adds, "I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended".

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.