How Facebook Is Helping Spread Hate Speech In The Rohingya Crisis

A young woman looks at her Facebook wall while she travels on a bus in Yangon

The three-member probe, which was established last March to investigate allegations of human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in Myanmar's Rakhine, Shan, and Kachin States, has conducted hundreds of interviews with refugees in Bangladesh, Thailand, and Malaysia that yielded "hundreds of credible accounts of the most harrowing nature", Darusman told the Human Rights Council on Monday.

"Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar".

Lee said that Facebook was used as the toll by the state government to disseminate information to the public.

The Fact-Finding Mission said it found evidence of human rights violations against the Kachin, Shan and Rohingya minorities "in all likelihood amounting to crimes under global law".

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.

The UN human rights experts have blamed Facebook for playing a key role in spreading hate speech against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

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United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein also called last week for the creation of a new body tasked with preparing criminal indictments over atrocities committed in Myanmar.

She said accountability for the abuses in Rakhine should be "the focus of the worldwide community's efforts to bring long-lasting peace, stability and democratization to Myanmar".

"It has. substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict, if you will, within the public". This content goes viral, normalizing hate speech and shaping public perception. And, "as far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media", said Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the organization's fact-finding mission on the country, according to Reuters.

In the past, Al Jazeera had highlighted how Facebook was used to amplify hate speech against Rohingya Muslims, while a year ago, Daily Beast reported that activists documenting the alleged ethnic cleansing in Myanmar were silenced by Facebook, as their postings were removed and their accounts suspended. At the end of February, Facebook removed the page of Myanmar monk Wirathu.

"Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar", she told reporters, adding that Facebook had helped the impoverished country but had also been used to spread hate speech.

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