United Nations investigator blames Facebook for spreading hate against Rohingyas

Rohingya Muslim refugees children queue for aid suplies at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar

Rohingya Muslim refugees children queue for aid suplies at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar

Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was last week stripped of a prestigious human rights award by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, which accused her of doing little to halt the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.

Government spokesman Zaw Htay said the reports presented Tuesday by the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee lacked credibility.

Facebook is a major news source for people in Myanmar, where it has been used as a platform to stir up public outrage against the Rohingya.

The UN has been denied access to Rahkine since late previous year, so both Yee and the fact-finding mission have been forced to conduct their investigations in Cox's Bazaar in Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya are now living in refugee camps.

Just last week the Myanmar military released a lengthy denial stating that the Rohingya - who they refer to as "illegal Bengalis"- had burned down their own villages and that their own investigation had concluded "security personnel did not commit extrajudicial killings or sexually abuse and rape women".

A U.N. fact-finding mission has highlighted the role of social media networks, and Facebook in particular, in fueling hate speech against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, telling the U.N. Human Rights Council this week that "incitement to violence" is "rampant" and "unchecked".

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"As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media", ABC Online quoted Darusman as saying.

"It has. substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissention and conflict, if you will, within the public".

"We work with local communities and NGOs to increase awareness of our policies and reporting process, and are always looking for ways to improve people's experience on Facebook", the spokesperson said.

UN Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee said that "everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar", adding it has been used to spread hate speech. So far, it's estimated that 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh as a result.

Facebook has always been criticised for its role in the Rohingya crisis, an assessment now underscored by comments by United Nations investigators.

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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