The volume of hate speech required serious product changes. His term ended in March 2016. Last year, a public opinion survey from the International Republican Institute found that 38 percent of people polled got most, if not all, their news from Facebook. C4ADS, a Washington-based nonprofit that has worked with firms like data company Palantir, released an exhaustive report detailing hate speech trends and its facilitators in February 2016. A former senior government official said Zaw Htay was the “focal person,” of Facebook’s dealings with the country’s government. While the positive developments in Myanmar under Thein Sein were noteworthy, tremendous challenges remained. The messages, the groups say, lead to at least three violent incidents, including the attempted torching of an Islamic school and the ransacking of shops and houses belonging to Muslims in a town in central Myanmar. Now, that threat went straight through your detection systems, it spread very quickly, and then it took attempt after attempt after attempt, and the involvement of civil society groups, to get you to remove it. In addition to posts, researchers found that “crude and dehumanizing anti-Muslim imagery and language is regularly woven into ‘memes’” including widely shared ones portraying bestiality aimed at Muslims and the “Prophet Muhammed being orally penetrated.”. But the military is not under civilian oversight and retains an outsized role in the country’s political arena, controlling a quarter of all parliament seats as well as three key ministries. Under that regime, internet connectivity was severely limited and frustratingly slow. In 2013 an official from Human Rights Watch was largely dismissive that Facebook could play a major role in the spread of hate speech. The meeting was born in large part out of continued disappointment with the company’s inability to quickly address hate speech. The teashop’s Muslim owner had been accused, falsely, of raping a female Buddhist employee. There is deep skepticism that the current attention will push Facebook to meaningfully address the problems in Myanmar. AFP. Reining in the tech giants. Asked if the company had reviewers proficient in the other languages besides Burmese that are used widely in Myanmar, a spokeswoman said only that when content is reported that is not in one of the languages covered by the company, Facebook works with people familiar with the language to determine if the content violates standards. Not Now. Facebook is showing information to help you better understand the purpose of a Page. During the decades of military rule, the country lacked a free press and the junta operated largely in secret—the military changed the country’s flag and moved the capital with almost no prior warnings—people in Myanmar had spent decades reliant on state-run propaganda newspapers, parsing opaque military announcements for what was really happening. This skepticism about the risks of Facebook was rooted in part in a fear that the government or military would use hate speech as an excuse to censor or block certain websites that it did not agree with. After the unrest, which left scores of buildings in flames, Myanmar’s army took control in the city. Not that the increased government scrutiny deterred Aung Naing Soe from pursuing his work as a journalist. Following the pushback from civil society groups, it has taken down pages of other nationalist organizations and monks, removing major sources of hate speech and misinformation. Zuckerberg responded that what was happening in Myanmar was a “terrible tragedy, and we need to do more,” before Leahy tersely interjected, “We all agree with that.” Zuckerberg then laid out his three fixes for the company’s Myanmar operations. Log In. Zuckerberg’s admission that Facebook needed to improve came too late for some critics who said he failed to adequately take responsibility for what has been a long-term issue. Monks and protesters in Yangon, Myanmar, shout during a March 2015 march to denounce foreign criticism of the country's treatment of stateless Rohingya Muslims. Today, four years since the riots, Facebook’s role in society is again under intense scrutiny, both in Myanmar and around the world. Conflicts between the still-powerful military and a number of ethnic armed groups, some of whom had been battling for greater autonomy for decades, continued or intensified. But among Myanmar observers and experts, there are already concerns about the role Facebook could play in the country’s 2020 elections. The social network exploded in Myanmar, allowing fake news and violence to consume a country emerging from military rule. The wars that have riled the country for decades show no signs of abating, and vitriol against the Rohingya continues even as the country makes preparations for their return. 14,046,055 people like this. (The last of the sanctions were lifted by the fall of 2016, though one former general has been since been sanctioned for his alleged role in the violence against the Rohingya.). Contact One News Myanmar on Messenger. See more of Myanmar News on Facebook. “A lot of mutilated bodies.”. Bouts of violence in 2012 between Buddhists and the Rohingya on the country’s west coast added a new obstacle to the country’s precarious path toward a fuller democracy. Rioters torched cars and ransacked shops. The unrest was the latest in a string of flare-ups, often violent, between minority Muslims and Buddhists in the majority-Buddhist country of around 51 million since restrictions on free speech and the internet were steadily loosened starting in 2010. Consider the case of journalist and translator Aung Naing Soe, who in November 2016 was targeted online after users began circulating a picture they claimed showed him standing with members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. Some activists and rights groups, however, were not totally convinced of the threat of online hate speech. Soon, a decision was made by the President’s Office to temporarily block access to Facebook in Mandalay, Zaw Htay says. The bespectacled, subdued leader surprised observers by embracing a number of reforms—quickly suspending an unpopular Chinese-backed dam project and, in 2012, dropping heavy-handed censorship of the press. We welcome your comments, feedback and messages but please respect other Facebook … In one case in late November 2017, it took three days from initial flagging of a post threatening a prominent journalist to its removal, by which time it had been copied and shared numerous times. By analyzing the Facebook accounts of 100 monks, politicians, activists, government officials, and laypeople, the group found what it described as a “campaign of hate speech that actively dehumanizes Muslims.”. The country’s internet penetration was less than 1 percent in 2011 and there were just 1.3 million mobile subscribers, according to the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations’ agency. Sonny Swe, the founder of the independent Myanmar Times newspaper who was jailed by the junta, says he was hit by a “digital tsunami” when he was released from prison during an amnesty in April 2013. Ad Choices, How Facebook’s Rise Fueled Chaos and Confusion in Myanmar. 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