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  • Geebo 10:30 am on November 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cameroon, , , Myanmar   

    The ghosts of Myanmar haunt Facebook in other countries 

    The ghosts of Myanmar haunt Facebook in other countries

    With all eyes focused on the US midterm election, Facebook announced in the run-up that they had removed several foreign accounts that were coordinating some kind of inauthentic behavior. What was lost in the headlines is that around the same time, Facebook has admitted to their part in the ongoing ethnic conflict in Myanmar. As has been posted on this blog in the past, the Buddhist majority in Myanmar has used Facebook to not only spread misinformation and hate speech about the Muslim Rohingya minority but have also used Facebook to organize violent attacks against the Rohingya.

    Outside of the announcement of Facebook removing accounts that may have tried to interfere with the US election, Facebook also announced that they admit that their platform was used an “enabling environment” to which ethnic cleansing has proliferated in Myanmar. This was after Facebook had commissioned an independent study to review their role in the continuing Burmese conflict. However, any promise of resolution on Facebook’s side has been vague at best with Facebook basically promising to do better in the future. However, before they can correct any issues in Myanmar, Facebook is being used in another country’s ongoing conflict.

    The African nation of Cameroon is on the verge of a civil war between the French-speaking majority and English-speaking separatists. There are no ‘good guys’ in this fight as both sides have been accused of atrocities against the other. Another thing that both sides of the conflict have in common is that they both use Facebook to discord and misinformation. In one of the more recent incidents, the French-speaking east spread a video of a horror movie on Facebook and claimed it was evidence of cannibalism in the English-speaking east. Even a high-ranking government official claimed this was evidence of atrocities committed by the separatists before the video was debunked. Facebook admitted that there was more to do in Africa but Facebook does not have a team in place in Cameroon but rather handles African content from the US and the UK. This sounds vaguely reminiscent of the crisis in Myanmar as Facebook previously only had a handful of employees that could read Burmese.

    Facebook is losing the global war against hate and has no real-world solutions in place to stop it. This is the problem when one platform dominates the market and tries to be all things to all people. Some of the people are hate-filled monsters with a global platform.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on October 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Myanmar,   

    Facebook removes more Burmese pages involved in ethnic cleansing, but is it enough? 

    Facebook removes more Burmese pages involved in ethnic cleansing, but is it enough?

    In a move that seems like removing grains of sand from an avalanche, Facebook has removed 23 more accounts in Myanmar that were allegedly encouraging ethnic cleansing. If you’re not familiar with the situation. the Buddhist majority in Myanmar has been accused of persecuting the Muslim Rohingya minority resulting in the displacement of close to a million Rohingya and the death of thousands. Top government and Buddhist officials have been accused of using Facebook to fuel the flames of hatred in Myanmar. The following video will give you a glimpse into not only how the Rohingya are being treated but also how much the Myanmar government is in denial.

    This isn’t the first time Facebook has blocked the accounts of Burmese officials. Back in August, Facebook closed 70 accounts of Burmese officials and leaders who were said to be encouraging violence against and spreading false information about the Rohingya people. However, that was only after the UN condemned Myanmar for committing genocide. This time isn’t much different as Facebook closed the more recent accounts after the New York Times published a report stating that the Myanmar government was using Facebook accounts in entertainment and other social groups where the users would incite violence against the Rohingya. In America, this would be like belonging to a Game of Thrones fan page where the comments would be calling for the persecution of blacks and Hispanics and these comments would be sponsored by the government.

    Once again, Facebook is being reactive to these problems rather than proactive. Facebook won’t correct any problem until it means bad PR for them. Between political unrest and data breaches, for every leak Facebook tries to plug, ten more pop up. Before too long, the boat that Facebook built will start to sink while Mark Zuckerberg just rearranges the deck chairs.

  • Geebo 9:21 am on September 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Myanmar, , VKontakte   

    Russian social media does what Facebook wouldn’t to curb hate speech 

    Russian social media does what Facebook wouldn't to curb hate speech

    The last time I posted about the persecution of the Rohingya people in Myanmar, Facebook banned the accounts of top Myanmar officials who were allegedly inciting violence against the Rohingya. In Myanmar, Facebook is seen as the de facto internet and is used by many Myanmar nationals to spread lies and misinformation about the Muslim Rohingya minority which has led to accusations of ethnic cleansing against the Myanmar government. Facebook only took down a few offending pages after the UN accused Myanmar of genocide, war crimes, and other atrocities.

    Some of these top Myanmar officials have moved their accounts to a Russian social media network called VKontakte. Now you would think that with its negative connotations on American media that a Russian run website would allow just about any kind of hate speech on their platform but you’d be wrong. According to an interview with Fast Company, a VKontakte spokesperson said they take hate speech very seriously and have taken steps from preventing their platform being used as a tool for hate speech in Myanmar.

    We closely monitor the situation in Myanmar. We have specifically hired Burmese speaking moderators to monitor publications in communities and users pages. Our moderation team delete publications with calls for violence and ban users who host them.

    If a social media network that doesn’t nearly have the global reach of Facebook can stay on top of the situation in Myanmar then why couldn’t Facebook? It’s been posited before that Facebook needs such controversy in order to survive. Facebook is said to allow controversial content like this to proliferate on its network because it keeps people more engrossed in Facebook. This, in turn, is said to increase Facebook’s revenue through advertisements. You know, but what’s the persecution of an entire ethnicity worth when there’s money to be made?

  • Geebo 9:09 am on August 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Myanmar, ,   

    Facebook removes pages of top Myanmar officials 

    Facebook removes pages of top Myanmar officials

    I’ve been posting about the crisis in Myanmar for a while now. If you’re unfamiliar with the situation in the country formerly known as Burma, the majority Buddhist government has been accused of fueling hate crimes and ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslim minority, forcing close to a million Rohingya to flee Myanmar into Bangladesh. One of the ways the Myanmar government is accused of persecuting the Rohingya is by spreading false information about the Rohingya through Facebook. Facebook is considered to be the internet by many in Myanmar.

    Today, the United Nations said that top Myanmar officials should be investigated and prosecuted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. In the wake of the UN’s announcement, Facebook has removed 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account, and 52 Facebook Pages, many of which were run by some of Myanmar’s top officials. These accounts were said to have 12 million followers total.

    Facebook spokeswoman Clare Wareing said by email that the social media site took this step, “since international experts, including a UN-commissioned report, have found evidence that many of these officials committed serious human rights abuses in the country.”

    While it’s commendable that Facebook removed these accounts, why did it take a UN indictment before they decided to take action? Secondly, why does Facebook think that removing only 71 accounts will do anything to curb the violence? Ever since Facebook has been implicated in the violence against the Rohingya, they’ve only taken half-measures that have had no real effect on stopping the crisis. Now, Facebook is trying to ride the coattails of the UN by trying to make it look like they’re really doing something about it when any number of these accounts could be relaunched under other names in a matter of moments.

  • Geebo 8:59 am on August 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Myanmar,   

    Facebook failing in the fight to stop ethnic cleansing 

    Facebook failing in the fight to stop ethnic cleansing

    I’ve been posting about Facebook’s role in the persecution of the Rohingya people in Myanmar for a little while now. If you’re unfamiliar with the situation, the Rohingya Muslim minority in the country formerly known as Burma has not only been run out of their homes by the Myanmar military, but they’ve also been the victims of hate crimes and ethnic cleansing that is fueled by the Buddhist majority. The Rohingya are considered to be the most persecuted people currently in the world today. Previously, Facebook has given non-committal answers about their efforts to help stop the human rights abuses in Myanmar, but a new report says Facebook is failing horribly to curb the tide of ethnic violence in the country.

    WARNING: The following video may contain images and language that some may find disturbing.

    A report from Reuters (via CNBC) says that since the problem of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar has been brought to Facebook’s attention, they’ve done little about it. In a country of 100 million people where roughly three-quarters of the population use Facebook as their only news source, Facebook has only employed a handful of people who speak and read Burmese. The Reuters report also found posts that incite violence against the Rohingya going back as far as six years that are still active on the platform. This further shows that Facebook’s global power has gotten way out of their own control to the detriment of humanity.

    Now some in the West may ignore this problem because it doesn’t concern us but think of this. What if this was happening in our country? What if 75% of the population was looking to drive certain ethnicities or religions from the U.S. because of what they read on Facebook. What if that turned into the mass killings of those oppressed people and the government was to look the other way? Then you look at things like the proliferation of hate groups on Facebook in the United States and you have to ask yourself how close are we to becoming like Myanmar?

  • Geebo 9:06 am on March 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , genocide, Myanmar, ,   

    UN: Incitement to violence on Facebook rampant and unchecked 

    UN: Incitement to violence on Facebook rampant and unchecked

    We’ve previously posted about the crisis of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar here about how Facebook was allegedly being used to not only spread falsehoods about the Rohingya, but also how the social network is being used to fuel ethnic cleansing. The use of Facebook as a weapon against the Rohingya has gotten so bad in Myanmar that the United Nations has referred to Facebook as a ‘beast’.

    UN investigators looking into claims of genocide against the Rohingyan people recently said that Facebook is the de facto internet in Myanmar and that “Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar.” The investigators also said that the incitement to violence against the Rohingya on Facebook were rampant and unchecked.

    While Facebook has not commented on the UN’s recent findings, in the past their responses have been non-committal at best saying it’s hard to curb hate speech at this magnitude before throwing out figures like “it removes about 66,000 posts a week — around 288,000 monthly — on what it considers hateful rhetoric.” That’s all well and good but it doesn’t change the fact that the government and some of the populace of Myanmar are using Facebook’s platform to help carry out what some consider an ongoing genocide of a religious minority in their country. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people who have either been targets of violence or have been forced to flee from their homes. Facebook telling people how many posts they’ve removed isn’t helping and unless Facebook doesn’t take greater measures to prevent their network from being used by oppressive forces they will forever be known as a tool of genocide.

  • Geebo 10:10 am on December 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Myanmar,   

    Is Facebook complicit in ethnic cleansing? 

    Is Facebook complicit in ethnic cleansing?

    If you’re not familiar with the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, they’ve been called the most persecuted people in the world. The government of Myanmar has been accused of what essentially amounts to ethnic cleansing of trying to remove the minority Muslim Rohingya in the largely Buddhist country. Myanmar even refuses to recognize them as citizens while placing discriminatory restrictions against them.

    So how does Facebook fit into all of this? According to reports by both The Atlantic and The Daily Beast, Facebook is considered the de facto internet in Myanmar. And much like it has in America, Facebook has been used to spread false information about the Rohingya people. To compound matters, Facebook is being accused of deleting the posts of pro-Rohingya activists under the vague terms of their ‘community guidelines’. Not just in Myanamar either as a Canadian activist has said that some of his posts criticizing the Myanmar government have been deleted. In many other cases, entire Facebook accounts have been deactivated. Meanwhile, Facebook’s response to the criticism can be summarized as a dismissive ‘we’re looking into it.’

    This is yet another example of how Facebook’s power and reach has gotten out of their control and probably the most devastating example. Even if it’s not intentional, Facebook gives the impression that they’re largely unsympathetic to the plight of the Rohingya which allows this campaign of hate to continue against them unabated in a country that the Rohingya have lived in for centuries.

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