Facebook takes a stand on the Myanmar coup
After failing to stop hate speech and misinformation, Exacerbated the genocide In Myanmar, Facebook now says it plans to take proactive content review measures after a military coup in the country.
In an internal message released late on Monday and reviewed by BuzzFeed News, Rafael Frankel, the head of public policy for the Asia-Pacific region, told employees that social networks are watching Myanmar’s “turbulent situation” with “serious concern”. “, outlines a series of measures to combat people who use it to spread misinformation or threaten violence.
As part of these measures, Facebook has designated Myanmar as a “temporary high-risk location” for two weeks, which allows the company to delete content and incidents in the country, including “any appeal to carry weapons.” After the US Capitol uprising on January 6, the social network previously applied the name to Washington, DC.
The social network once boasted of its efforts to protect the integrity of Myanmar’s November national elections, but the social network also stated that it would protect positions criticizing the military and its coup d’état, and track pages and pages related to military intrusions or takeovers. Account reports.
Frankel wrote: “Myanmar’s November general election is an important moment in the country’s transition to democracy, although it is not without challenges, as emphasized by international human rights organizations.” “This round of events reminds us of what we hoped for Myanmar in the past. The past days remind us of basic rights that should not be taken for granted.”
On Monday, General Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the Myanmar military, took control of the Myanmar government and detained the elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party Other members of.After the election NLD won the majority of seats In Myanmar’s parliament, opposition groups backed by the military called the result fraudulent and demanded a vote.
On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department Formally designated The military’s takeover coup in Myanmar triggered financial sanctions.
The State Department official said in the briefing: “After reviewing all the facts, we assessed the action taken by the Myanmar military on February 1 to dismiss the elected head of government, which constitutes a military coup.” Used by the U.S. government to refer to this. The name of the country.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Facebook confirmed the actions outlined in Frankel’s post and said it would remove content that praised or supported the coup.
Frankel said: “We put the safety of the people of Myanmar first and delete content that undermines our regulations on violence, hate speech and harmful misinformation.” “This includes eliminating misinformation that misleads the results of the November election.”
Facebook is taking action in the country, which has previously received international condemnation for its response to the displacement and genocide of Rohingya Muslims that began in 2016. In 2018, UN investigators discovered that senior military officials in Myanmar had used Facebook, and the country had not done so. There are content hosts in the country. Incite fear and spread hate speech.
The UN investigators concluded: “We must independently and thoroughly investigate the extent to which Facebook posts and messages lead to discrimination in the real world.” Their report.
Frankel said in a post on Monday that Facebook is using “many product interventions used in the past during the elections in Myanmar and the US to ensure that the platform is not used to spread misinformation, incite violence or coordinate harm.”
Frankel wrote that the company is working to secure the accounts of activists and journalists who are “in danger or being arrested,” and delete content that threatens or demands violence against them. In view of the restrictions on the country’s news media, the company will also protect “critical information about events on the ground”.
Facebook’s work is an ongoing work. After an inquiry later on Tuesday, it deleted the page of the Myanmar Military Television Network. Wall Street Journal.Although the company banned the Myawaddy TV network from using one page in 2018 During the repression On hundreds of accounts related to the Myanmar military, the new page reappeared and received 33,000 likes.
Facebook is often criticized for promoting the growth of violent and extremist groups and their ineffectiveness in preventing misinformation. Recently, a technical monitoring organization accused the company of inciting unrest, which led to an attempted fatal coup in the United States.
“[Facebook] In the past year, Trump has failed to eliminate extremist activities and election-related conspiracy theories, which have angered the general public and led many people on dangerous paths,” the Technology Transparency Project (TTP) Said in the report.
The report exposed the specific threats that pro-Trump and militant groups faced on Facebook before and after Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.