United Nations investigator blames Facebook for spreading hate against Rohingyas

United Nations investigator blames Facebook for spreading hate against Rohingyas

United Nations investigator blames Facebook for spreading hate against Rohingyas

Over 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken refuge in Bangladesh after fleeing Myanmars' Rakhine state after insurgent attacks led to a security crackdown last August.

The Fact-Finding Mission said in an interim report presented in Geneva that "patterns of human rights abuse across the country are linked", with events in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states all "products of a longstanding, systemic pattern of human rights violation and abuse in Myanmar".

Amnesty International this week said Myanmar was building security installations on top of razed Rohingya villages, casting further doubt on plans to repatriate hundreds of thousands of refugees.

He adds that it has "substantially contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict".

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His remarks come a day after United Nations special rapporteur to Myanmar Yanghee Lee warned the violence against the Rohingya bears "the hallmarks of genocide".

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. "Hate speech and incitement to violence on social media is rampant, particularly on Facebook".

Lee adds that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists also have their own Facebook accounts which incite "a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities".

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

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Facebook had no immediate comment on the criticism on Monday, 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.

One of the most prominent nationalist Buddhist monks, Ashin Wirathu, whose profile was removed from Facebook, recently admitted that other social networks such as YouTube and Twitter do not work as well. Beyond its global effort to bolster its content moderation by hiring more reviewers, it says it routinely removes hate speech content in the country, including Wirathu's account (although this only happened in late February), and that it has developed and promoted localized guidelines for using Facebook.

"We take this incredibly seriously and have worked with experts in Myanmar for several years to develop safety resources and counter-speech campaigns", a Facebook spokesperson told the BBC.

"Of course, there is always more we can do and we will continue to work with local experts to help keep our community safe".

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