Myanmar activists call on Facebook to curb hate speech


In June 2018, human rights and digital rights activists in Myanmar called on Facebook to raise its level of moderation of Burmese-language content in order to reduce hate speech, which they said was at high risk of sparking open violence. In Myanmar, decades of civil war and the end of military rule had led to a humanitarian crisis that sent 900,000 Rohynga fleeing the country and that United Nations investigators called "ethnic cleansing" and suspected genocide. Because Facebook is pre-installed on mobile phones, which have spread across the country since 2008, many equate it with "the internet". 

Activists complained that if Facebook staffed its operation in Myanmar at the same level it does in Germany, where it has 1,200 moderators, it would need to have 700 people, all fluent in Burmese, the local language. Facebook declined to say how many moderators it employed, how much content it was taking down, how many reports it was getting, or how many accounts it had removed. The company pledged to work with civic groups, and had blacklisted a group of Buddhist nationalists.

Writer: Anthony Kuhn
Publication: NPR

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