Facebook allowed Rohingya Muslim hate-speech to spread

United Nations officials say that social media has had a "determining role" in anti-Rohingya Muslim violence in Myanmar, which the organization itself has called "ethnic cleansing."

Roughly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since Myanmar's military launched a crackdown on Rohingya people in Myanmar's Rakhine State in August 2017. Beyond its global effort to bolster its content moderation by hiring more reviewers, it says it routinely removes hate speech content in the country, including Wirathu's account (although this only happened in late February), and that it has developed and promoted localized guidelines for using Facebook.

Responding to comments by Lee and Darusman, Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay told RFA's Myanmar Service on Tuesday that the country had blocked the United Nations fact-finding mission because it rejected its legitimacy, and because its members were prejudiced in their assessment of the situation in Rakhine state by labeling it genocide or ethnic cleansing.

"This has cost the Rohingya population of Myanmar their lives, their dignity and their homes", he said. "It was used to convey public messages but we know that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists ... are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of..."

"I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended", she warned. Investigators have been barred by the government from entering Myanmar, and so have relied on interviews with refugees and others in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand.

"Of course, there is always more we can do and we will continue to work with local experts to help keep our community safe", Facebook spokesperson has said.

In the report, Lee noted one instance in which the government's Information Committee Facebook page published a list of 1,311 names together with photographs-including at least 46 children-accused of being members of the militant ARSA group.

While Lee expressed hope that de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi would eventually put a stop to the campaign of violence, she also said the government leadership who did not intervene must also be held accountable.

Lee said investigators should be based out of Bangladesh and work for three years to "collect, consolidate, map, analyse and maintain evidence of human rights violations and abuses".

Facebook has previously discussed the problems it has faced trying to tackle hate speech in the country.

Though Facebook has yet to comment on UN's recent statement, the social media giant has previously admitted that it faces difficulty in tackling hate speech.

"We've had trouble enforcing this policy correctly recently, mainly due to the challenges of understanding the context; after further examination, we've been able to get it right".