28 Aug 2018

Facebook Takes Action against Myanmar over Rohingya Violence

Facebook moved against the Myanmar regime on Monday by taking down a number of accounts and pages, as well as an Instagram account, which the internet giant had identified as being “hate speech”.

The relevant pages and accounts had a range of almost 12 million people, and Facebook's actions came weeks after the company had laid out how they were trying to "prevent the spread of hate and misinformation" on the platform.

In a post on its newsroom feed widely shared by the US special representative to Muslim Communities Shaarik Zafar, the company admitted that it had previously been too slow to act on “hate speech” in the past, but that with the aid of new technology it could now identify examples a lot quicker.

Stating that "the ethnic violence in Myanmar has been truly horrific", the company announced that it would be "taking more action in Myanmar", taking down 18 accounts and 52 Facebook pages. It said that it would be "preserving data, including content, on the accounts and pages we have removed".

The main thrust would be to remove individuals at the top of the Myanmar regime: "we are banning 20 individuals and organisations from Facebook in Myanmar – including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and the military's Myawady television network".

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