UN Slams Facebook Over Hate Material Spread Against Rohingya in Myanmar

Myanmar Army Grabbing Land Left by Fleeing Rohingya Amnesty International

Former Rohingya village

"As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media", Darusman told reporters.

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

In Myanmar, which is still effectively controlled by the military, Facebook is so prevalent that it essentially functions as the entire internet, and is the main source of information for citizens (a local digital marketing agency puts the share of the population on Facebook at about 20%).

The mission found that so-called "clearance operations" by Myanmar security forces had driven almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh since August - and that many Rohingya were killed in such operations: "People died from gunshot wounds, often due to indiscriminate shooting at fleeing villagers.

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.

Facebook has said in the past that it was working to remove hate speech and accounts that shared such content consistently.

The mission's report was based on over 600 in-depth interviews with victims and witnesses.

The South Korean academic, who has been barred from visiting Myanmar, called for a UN-backed investigation based in Bangladesh. Investigators also analyzed satellite imagery, photos and video footage.

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"People died from gunshot wounds, often due to indiscriminate shooting at fleeing villagers", the report said. "Others were hacked to death".

Zaw Htay also said that Lee, who was nominated as special envoy on human rights by the Myanmar government and whose nomination was supported by other countries with the expectation of her demonstrating impartial cooperation, has made "biased, one-sided, and unfair accusations against Myanmar".

Officials have claimed that "clearance operations" against militants responsible for attacks on police stations ended in September, but that has been disputed.

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

In Rakhine state, Myanmar appeared to be pursuing a policy of forced starvation to make life there unsustainable for the Rohingya, Lee said.

Last July, it gave the example of policing use of the word "kalar", which it said could be used both innocuously and as a slur against Muslims.

Though Facebook has yet to comment on UN's recent statement, the social media giant has previously admitted that it faces difficulty in tackling hate speech.

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