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UN investigators on Myanmar put Facebook in crosshairs

UN investigators on Myanmar put Facebook in crosshairs
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United Nations human rights experts who are investigating potential Rohingya genocide in Myanmar say that Facebook had a role in spreading hate speech in the country.

Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar, said that social media has played a critical role in the tragedy in which hundreds of thousands Rohingya Muslims have fled the country, according to Reuters.

“It has ... substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict, if you will, within the public. Hate speech is certainly, of course, a part of that. As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media,” he said.

“Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar,” added U.N. investigator Yanghee Le.

“It was used to convey public messages but we know that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists have their own Facebooks and are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities,” she said. “I’m afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended [to be].”

A top U.N. human rights official had previously said Myanmar’s targeting of the Rohingya appears to be “textbook ethnic cleansing.”

Facebook has said in the past that it removes hate speech and users that consistently spread it.

In September, the company came under fire for reportedly censoring posts documenting ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.