Facebook said Tuesday it is "seriously" fighting hate speech in Myanmar, following blistering criticism from United Nations officials who said the platform had morphed into a "beast" that helps spread vitriol against Rohingya Muslims. Yanghee Lee, another one of the investigators, said she fears that Facebook, despite all the good it has done for connecting people in Myanmar, has become "a beast".
"The external review should assess whether the United Nations and global community could have prevented or managed the situation differently that occurred regarding the Rohingya and in Rakhine state, and make recommendations for accountability if appropriate", she said.
"It has. substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissention and conflict, if you will, within the public".
"Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar", Ms Lee said in Geneva yesterday, using the alternative name for Burma.
More than 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state into Bangladesh since insurgent attacks sparked a security crackdown last August.
"We know that the ultranationalist Buddhists have their own Facebooks and really (are) inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities", Lee said.
She further adds, "I'm afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended".
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But it has drawn criticism for a take-off that has coincided with a rise in ethnically-charged hate speech and violence, particularly in Rakhine state.
Calls have been mounting for the creation of a UN-backed investigation to prepare criminal indictments over atrocities committed in Myanmar.
Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed in November to begin repatriating Rohingya who volunteered to return to Rakhine, but the plan has stalled.
Facebook said they take the issue "incredibly seriously" and have worked with experts in the country to develop resources and counter-speech campaigns, including a locally illustrated version of the platform's community standards, and regular training sessions for civil society and local community groups.
"Of course, there is always more we can do and we will continue to work with local experts to help keep our community safe".
"We have invested significantly in technology and local language expertise to help us swiftly remove hate content and people who repeatedly violate our hate speech policies", the spokesperson added.
Last month, Facebook removed the page of a Myanmar monk once dubbed the "Buddhist Bin Laden" for his incendiary posts about Muslims, the company confirmed, as it faces pressure to clamp down on hate speech.