Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Facebook has admitted that its social media platform did not do enough to prevent incitement of violence and hate speech in Myanmar amid ongoing violence against Rohingya Muslims in the Southeast Asian country.
The 62-page independent report from non-profit organization Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) found that in Myanmar “Facebook has become a means for those seeking to spread hate and cause harm, and posts have been linked to offline violence.”
The report added that Facebook had “created an enabling environment for the ongoing endorsement and proliferation of human rights abuse in Myanmar.”
This had been done in various ways, including character assassinations, rumor-spreading, and hate speech against minority individuals, it added.
According to the report, a large proportion of this hate speech has been directed towards the Rohingya in Rakhine state.
Reacting to the report, Alex Warofka, Facebook’s product policy manager, said in a statement that the company had been working on the issue but had “more to do.”
The report comes against the backdrop of widespread violence against the Rohingya minority, which the United Nations has said may amount to genocide.
In April, the Guardian reported that hate speech on Facebook in Myanmar had exploded during the Rohingya crisis, which was caused by a crackdown by the military in Rahkine in August 2017.
The recent UN fact-finding mission to Myanmar specifically singled out the role of Facebook in fanning the flames of anti-Muslim sentiment and violence. In September, the UN published a report that criticized Facebook’s “slow and ineffective” response to its platform’s involvement in the situation.
Myanmar’s government has faced international condemnation for failing to halt the brutal persecution of Rohingya Muslims by military forces and Buddhist extremists.
Last year, extremist Buddhist monks rushed to help Myanmar’s military, when it intensified its crackdown.
The campaign against the Rohingya, which the UN described as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing, has seen mass killings, torture, and gang rape of the Muslims as well as arson attacks against their homes and farms in Rakhine.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been living for more than a year in cramped refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar district in southeastern Bangladesh after fleeing violence in Rakhine at the hands of the Myanmar military.
Rohingya trace their presence in Rakhine back centuries, but most people in Buddhist-majority Myanmar see them as unwanted immigrants from Bangladesh, with the state denying the Muslims citizenship.