UN Officials Blame Facebook for Helping Incite Genocide

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The United Nations has released an investigative report that calls for Myanmar officials to face charges of genocide due to the results of their campaign against Rohingya.

Investigators further called for the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar and subject the offending officials to targeted sanctions, Reuters reported.

The investigation also placed some of the blame on a surprising culprit: hate speech on social media.

The report cites social media companies as a catalyst for crime among locals.

Facebook is specifically noted as being problematic due in part to it having been the nation’s most prevalent social media platform, despite the company having no employees in the country.

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“The role of social media is significant,” the report said. “Facebook has been a useful instrument for those seeking to spread hate, in a context where for most users Facebook is the Internet. …

“The Mission regrets that Facebook is unable to provide country-specific data about the spread of hate speech on its platform, which is imperative to assess the adequacy of its response.”

While Facebook’s hate speech standards are strict enough to have warranted heated disputes in the past, the lack of a physical presence in the country has allowed what the U.N. considers to be an unacceptable amount of hatred to be conveyed over the platform.

The U.N. organized a panel last year to interview victims and witnesses of the genocide who have fled to Bangladesh and other countries. The panel interviewed 875 individuals in all and analysed the available documents, videos and photographs.

Do you think Facebook is partly to blame for the genocide in Myanmar?

The members of that panel accused Facebook in March of allowing the platform to be used for facilitating organized violence.

The investigative report reprimanded the company, saying it should have responded more quickly.

“Although improved in recent months, Facebook’s response has been slow and ineffective. The extent to which Facebook posts and messages have led to real-world discrimination and violence must be independently and thoroughly examined,” the report said.

Facebook responded on Monday, saying in a news release that it would ban the accounts of 20 Myanmar officials and organizations that “committed or enabled serious human rights abuses.”

The accounts removed included 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account and 52 Facebook pages, according to the statement.

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“The ethnic violence in Myanmar has been truly horrific,” Facebook said. “Earlier this month, we shared an update on the steps we’re taking to prevent the spread of hate and misinformation on Facebook. While we were too slow to act, we’re now making progress — with better technology to identify hate speech, improved reporting tools, and more people to review content.”

A Reuters investigation published earlier this month found more than 1,000 examples of “posts, comments and pornographic images attacking the Rohingya and other Muslims on Facebook.”

Many of the offensive comments centered around the assumption that the Myanmar people were in danger due to possible terrorists in their midst.

However, the U.N. report found that the military action was “grossly disproportionate to actual security threats.”

“Our findings are grim,” panel chairman Marzuki Darusman said at a news conference Monday, according to Reuters. “We believe that establishing the facts is the first stepping stone towards change.”

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Savannah Pointer is a constitutional originalist whose main goal is to keep the wool from being pulled over your eyes. She believes that the liberal agenda will always depend on Americans being uneducated and easy to manipulate. Her mission is to present the news in a straightforward yet engaging manner.
Savannah Pointer is a constitutional originalist whose professional career has been focused on bringing accuracy and integrity to her readers. She believes that the liberal agenda functions best in a shroud of half truths and misdirection, and depends on the American people being uneducated.

Savannah believes that it is the job of journalists to make sure the facts are the focus of every news story, and that answering the questions readers have, before they have them, is what will educate those whose voting decisions shape the future of this country.

Savannah believes that we must stay as informed as possible because when it comes to Washington "this is our circus, and those are our monkeys."
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