Zuckerberg addresses Facebook's role in Myanmar ethnic cleansing

Zuckerberg addresses Facebook's role in Myanmar ethnic cleansing
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Facebook chief executive Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Facebook content moderators demand more workplace protections | Ousted cyber official blasts Giuliani press conference | Tech firms fall short on misinformation targeting Latino vote Facebook says AI is aiding platform's ability to remove hate speech Facebook content moderators demand more workplace COVID-19 protections MORE acknowledged criticisms that his platform has been used during an ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

“The Myanmar issues have, I think, gotten a lot of focus inside the company,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with Vox published on Monday. “And they’re real issues and we take this really seriously.”

Zuckerberg said the company had found at least one instance of “sensational messages” being spread through Facebook in an attempt to incite violence. The company removed the messages from its platform.

“This is certainly something that we’re paying a lot of attention to,” he said.

The Facebook founder acknowledged that his company can play a significant role in conflicts.

“I think more than a lot of other companies, we’re in a position where sometimes we have to adjudicate those kind of disputes between different members of our community,” he said.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled the country to escape what a top United Nations (U.N.) human rights official has called a “textbook ethnic cleansing.”

Other U.N. officials investigating the genocide say Facebook has had a role in the tragedy.

“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,” Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar, said in March.

Facebook has said it’s trying to fix the issue and has been working to crack down on posts inciting violence in Myanmar.

The company has suspended the account of an ultranationalist Buddhist monk who has been accused of inciting violence against the Rohingya community.

But Facebook has also been criticized for removing posts documenting evidence of violence against the Rohingya.

The issue comes as Facebook deals with scrutiny over other issues on its platform including the dissemination of fake news, Russians manipulating its platform in an attempt to influence U.S. politics and the British research firm used by the Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica, improperly taking the data of 50 million Facebook users.