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After Fueling A Genocide, Facebook Takes A Stand Against A Myanmar Coup

After failing to stem the hate speech and misinformation that fueled a genocide in Myanmar, Facebook now says it plans to take proactive content material moderation steps following a army coup happening within the nation.

In an inside message posted late on Monday and seen by BuzzFeed News, Rafael Frankel, a director of public coverage within the Asia-Pacific area, advised workers that the social community was watching the “volatile situation” in Myanmar “with grave concern” and outlined a collection of measures to crack down on individuals who used it to unfold misinformation or threaten violence.

As a part of these measures, Facebook has designated Myanmar as a “Temporary High-Risk Location” for 2 weeks, permitting the corporate to take away content material and occasions within the nation that embody “any calls to bring armaments.” The social community beforehand utilized that designation to Washington, DC, following the rebel on the US Capitol on Jan. 6.

The social community, which had touted its efforts to guard the integrity of Myanmar’s nationwide elections in November, additionally stated it could defend posts that criticized the army and its coup, and would observe stories of pages and accounts being hacked or taken over by the army.

“Myanmar’s November election was an important moment in the country’s transition toward democracy, although it was not without its challenges, as highlighted by international human rights groups,” Frankel wrote. “This turn of events hearkens us to days we hoped were in Myanmar’s past and reminds us of fundamental rights that should never be taken for granted.”

Facebook’s strikes come after General Min Aung Hlaing, the pinnacle of Myanmar’s army, took management of the nation’s authorities and detained its elected chief Aung San Suu Kyi and different members of her National League of Democracy (NLD) occasion on Monday. Following the election by which the NLD gained a majority of seats in Myanmar’s parliament, military-backed opposition teams referred to as the outcomes fraudulent and demanded a revote.

On Tuesday, the US State Department formally designated the army’s takeover in Myanmar as a coup, triggering monetary sanctions.

“After a review of all the facts, we have assessed that the Burmese military’s actions on February 1st, having deposed the duly elected head of government, constituted a military coup d’etat,” a State Department official stated in a briefing, using the title the US authorities makes use of to discuss with the nation.

In an announcement to BuzzFeed News, Facebook confirmed the actions it outlined in Frankel’s publish and stated it could be eradicating content material that praises or helps the coup.

“We’re putting the safety of people in Myanmar first and are removing content that breaks our rules on violence, hate speech and harmful misinformation,” Frankel stated. “This includes removing misinformation that delegitimizes the outcome of November’s election.”

Facebook is taking motion in a rustic the place it has beforehand confronted worldwide condemnation for its dealing with of the displacement and genocide of Rohingya Muslims that started in 2016. In 2018, United Nations investigators discovered that senior army officers in Myanmar had used Facebook, which didn’t have content material moderators within the nation, to foment concern and unfold hate speech.

The “extent to which Facebook posts and messages have led to real-world discrimination must be independently and thoroughly investigated,” the UN investigators concluded of their report.

In Monday’s publish, Frankel stated Facebook was utilizing “a number of product interventions that were used in the past in Myanmar and during the US elections, to ensure the platform isn’t being used to spread misinformation, incite violence, or coordinate harm.”

The firm is working to safe the accounts of activists and journalists “who are at risk or who have been arrested” and eradicating content material that threatens or requires violence towards them, Frankel wrote. The firm will even defend “critical information about what’s happening on the ground,” given the restrictions imposed on news retailers within the nation.

Facebook’s work is an ongoing effort. On Tuesday, it eliminated a web page for Myanmar’s army tv community late Monday, following inquiries from the Wall Street Journal. While the corporate had banned one web page for the Myawaddy tv community in 2018 throughout a crackdown on a whole lot of accounts tied to Myanmar’s army, a brand new web page had reappeared and garnered 33,000 likes.

Facebook has ceaselessly come underneath hearth for facilitating the expansion of violent and extremist teams and its ineffectiveness in stemming misinformation. Most just lately, a tech watchdog group accused the corporate of fomenting the unrest that led to the lethal tried coup within the United States.

“[Facebook] has spent the past year failing to remove extremist activity and election-related conspiracy theories stoked by President Trump that have radicalized a broad swath of the population and led many down a dangerous path,” the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) stated in a report.

The report uncovered particular threats made in pro-Trump and militant teams on Facebook each earlier than and after Joe Biden’s election victory in November.

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Updated on March 6, 2021 6:18 am

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