Facebook is being used to incite hatred in Myanmar, says the UN

Facebook is being used to incite hatred in Myanmar, says the UN

Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission in Myanmar told reporters that social media had a "determining role" in spreading hate speech in the country, according to Reuters.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled northern Rakhine state to Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a brutal crackdown on insurgents six months ago amid accounts of arson, murder and rape at the hands of soldiers and vigilante mobs in the mainly Buddhist country.

Yanghee Lee, who carried out hundreds of interviews with human rights abuse victims as part of the investigation, says that she's "afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast".

Lee told the Human Rights Council that violent sweeps by the Myanmar army in Rakhine state that prompted about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh "bear the hallmarks of genocide".

"The long-standing conflicts in Kachin and Shan states have recently intensified, leading to more reports of serious violations of global human rights and humanitarian law committed in these areas by the security forces", it said. Myanmar's national security adviser demanded "clear evidence".

The Fact-Finding Mission said in an interim report presented in Geneva that "patterns of human rights abuse across the country are linked", with events in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states all "products of a longstanding, systemic pattern of human rights violation and abuse in Myanmar".

The violence committed against the minority Muslim community Rohingya has been referred as the crimes under worldwide law by United Nations Human Rights officials.

UN Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee said that "everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar", adding it has been used to spread hate speech. "As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media", he said as quoted by Reuters news agency. "Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar", she said. At the end of February, Facebook removed the page of Myanmar monk Wirathu.

Facebook suspends and sometimes removes anyone that "consistently shares content promoting hate", the company said last month in response to a question about Wirathu's account.

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