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Didn't do enough to prevent misuse during Myanmar violence: Facebook

A report warned that Facebook must be prepared to handle a likely onslaught of misinformation during Myanmar's 2020 elections

Reuters 

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Inc on Monday said a human rights report it commissioned on its presence in showed it had not done enough to prevent its social network from being used to incite violence.

The report by San Francisco-based nonprofit (BSR) recommended that more strictly enforce its content policies, increase engagement with both officials and civil society groups and regularly release additional data about its progress in the country.

"The report concludes that, prior to this year, we weren’t doing enough to help prevent our platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence. We agree that we can and should do more," Alex Warofka, a product policy manager, said in a blog post.

BSR also warned that Facebook must be prepared to handle a likely onslaught of misinformation during Myanmar's 2020 elections, and new problems as use of its grows in Myanmar, according to the report, which Facebook released.

Facebook said that it now has 99 language specialists reviewing potentially questionable content. In addition, it has expanded use of automated tools to reduce distribution of violent and dehumanizing posts while they undergo review.

A Reuters special report https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/myanmar-facebook-hate in August found that Facebook failed to promptly heed numerous warnings from organizations in Myanmar about social media posts fueling attacks on minority groups such as the Rohingya.

Facebook said it has begun correcting shortcomings. In the third quarter, the company said it "took action" on about 64,000 pieces of content that violated its hate speech policies. About 63 per cent were identified by automated software, up from 52 per cent in the prior quarter.

Facebook has roughly 20 million users in Myanmar, according to BSR, which warned Facebook faces several unresolved challenges in Myanmar.

BSR said locating staff there, for example, could aid in Facebook's understanding of how its services are used locally but said its workers could be targeted by the country's military, which has been accused by the U.N. of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.

First Published: Tue, November 06 2018. 10:54 IST
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