United Nations blames hate posts on Facebook for Rohingya crisis

UN Fact Finders Say Facebook Played a 'Determining' Role in Violence Against the Rohingya

UN Fact Finders Say Facebook Played a 'Determining' Role in Violence Against the Rohingya

Almost 700 000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August, crossing into Bangladesh with stories of murder, rape and arson at the hands of soldiers and Buddhist mobs in Rakhine state.

Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, told reporters that social media had played a "determining role" in Myanmar.

Both Darusman and Lee said Facebook had played a key role in the spread of conflict and hate speech in Myanmar.

Investigators from the United Nations are now looking into a potential - the investigators recently said they are "becoming more convinced" that a genocide occurred - genocide in Myanmar that happened between October 2016 and August 2017. Many have provided harrowing testimonies of executions and rapes by Myanmar security forces.

Adama Dieng recently visited Bangladesh to assess the situation of the Rohingyas and said Tuesday that what he heard and witnessed "is a human tragedy with the fingerprints of the Myanmar government and of the global community".

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

But it has drawn criticism for a take-off that has coincided with a rise in ethnically-charged hate speech and violence, particularly in Rakhine state.

Yeehang Lee's comments follow the release of images by the human rights group Amnesty International.

"There is a blurred line between freedom of speech and hate crime", said Lennon Chang, a lecturer in criminology in Monash University.

UN Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee said Facebook was a huge part of public, civil and private life, and the government used it to disseminate information to the public.

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".

"I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast", Lee told reporters.

In response to the United Nations criticism, a Facebookspokesperson on Tuesday defended the site's anti-hate speech strategy and said it had invested significantly in technology and local language expertise in Myanmar.

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.

"We work with local communities and NGOs to increase awareness of our policies and reporting process, and are always looking for ways to improve people's experience on Facebook", the spokesperson said.

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