BREAKING NEWS 7 dead in overnight shooting in Morgan County Full Story

Mark Zuckerberg addresses Facebook concerns of Myanmar activists

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckberg has promised to do more to help tackle hate speech in Myanmar after activists accused him ...

Posted: Apr 10, 2018 11:57 AM
Updated: Apr 10, 2018 11:57 AM

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckberg has promised to do more to help tackle hate speech in Myanmar after activists accused him of turning a blind eye.

In a response to an open letter from a group of tech and nonprofit organizations, Zuckerberg said the social media giant will introduce technological improvements to filter hate content, and has hired "dozens more Burmese language" moderators to deal with the issue.

"We now we have a special product team working to better understand the specific local challenges and build the right tools to help keep people there safe," Zuckerberg said.

However, the activists who originally called Zuckerberg out said his response did not "change our core belief that your proposed improvements are nowhere near enough to ensure that Myanmar users are provided with the same standards of care as users in the US or Europe," reiterating the heightened stakes in the Southeast Asian country.

"When things go wrong in Myanmar, the consequences can be really serious -- potentially disastrous," they said in a follow-up statement.

As many as 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar's western Rakhine state have been forced from their homes and across the border into neighboring Bangladesh since last summer, following a sustained campaign of violence and abuse, which the UN has called "ethnic cleansing."

Myo Min, a director of Equality Myanmar and a signatory to the letters to Zuckerberg, told CNN Facebook's work to tackle hate speech is "not enough ... we should have more accountability and transparency (from Facebook)."

"At least he's showed interest (in the problems faced here)," he added.

"We really need more collaboration with local civil society organizations. We're the ones who know, can read local language, can monitor, but we need a quick and efficient reporting mechanism (for hate speech)."

Messages caused 'country-wide fear'

Activists in Myanmar said they had found examples of Facebook tools "being used to incite real harm," including a call to arms against Muslims over a fabricated "jihad" planned for September 2017 shared via Facebook Messenger.

"Far from being stopped, (these examples) spread in an unprecedented way, reaching country-wide and causing widespread fear and at least three violent incidents in the process," the authors of the original letter said.

They cited an interview Zuckerberg did with Vox, in which he said Facebook's systems "detected" the hate speech.

However, according to the letter, many of the examples were raised to Facebook by the authors themselves, and represented a "far from systematic" approach to the detection of hate speech.

Calling this "the opposite of effective moderation," the group also chided Facebook for what it said was a lack of proper mechanisms for emergency escalation, a reticence to engage local stakeholders and a lack of transparency.

Zuckerberg said the company is "rolling out improvements to our reporting mechanism in Messenger to make it easier to find, and simpler for people to report conversations," like the false jihad messages.

The activists said his response did not go far enough, and included a list of ten questions for Zuckerberg concerning the number of incidents reported in Myanmar, amount of accounts closed due to violations of standards, and other indicators of hate speech.

'Inadequate response'

The Rohingya refugee crisis has been attributed to the actions of the Myanmar military, which has denied the intentional killing of civilians and insisted its operations primarily target terrorists.

Hate speech and incitements to violence against Rohingya "on social media is rampant, particularly on Facebook," said Marzuki Darusman, chair of a United Nations probe into human rights in Myanmar, adding it largely "goes unchecked."

Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, added "ultra-nationalist Buddhists ... are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities."

Ethnic conflict has plagued Myanmar for centuries, and violence has flared up in Rakhine on numerous occasions between the Buddhist majority and minority Muslims.

Raymond Serrato, a data analyst who has studied Facebook activity around last year's military action in Rakhine, said it would be "superficial" to ignore the pre-existing tension, but added "Facebook has definitely facilitated it."

Huntsville
Overcast
72° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 72°
Florence
Broken Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 80°
Fayetteville
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Scottsboro
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18766

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2321118
Jefferson1901104
Montgomery185843
Tuscaloosa83616
Marshall7089
Franklin5858
Lee56234
Shelby52819
Tallapoosa43466
Butler42118
Walker3862
Elmore3749
Chambers36026
Madison3534
Unassigned3062
Morgan3021
Baldwin2939
Dallas2923
Lowndes26512
Etowah26312
DeKalb2573
Autauga2415
Coffee2391
Sumter2287
Houston2265
Bullock2176
Pike2120
Colbert1902
Hale1859
Russell1810
Barbour1771
Marengo1756
Lauderdale1722
Calhoun1673
Wilcox1577
Choctaw15310
Cullman1521
Clarke1492
St. Clair1351
Randolph1287
Dale1240
Marion12411
Pickens1205
Talladega1195
Limestone1080
Chilton1071
Greene954
Macon934
Winston910
Jackson833
Covington821
Henry822
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia753
Washington736
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe462
Geneva440
Perry430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 25190

Reported Deaths: 401
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby5546124
Davidson551666
Trousdale13944
Rutherford134328
Hamilton96419
Sumner93846
Lake8350
Bledsoe6101
Williamson58911
Putnam5246
Robertson5235
Tipton4613
Wilson4498
Knox4355
Out of TN4264
Bedford2974
Montgomery2863
Rhea2170
Hardeman2020
Madison1732
Bradley1661
Macon1663
Loudon1610
Unassigned1610
McMinn14614
Fayette1362
Cheatham1350
Dickson1200
Cumberland1202
Maury1071
Sevier972
Blount933
Coffee780
Washington750
Monroe713
Wayne640
Gibson631
Sullivan602
Lauderdale591
Hickman580
Dyer570
Franklin541
Greene522
Unicoi480
Obion453
Marion441
Hamblen422
Anderson422
DeKalb380
Smith361
Hawkins342
Marshall331
Lawrence330
Haywood332
White330
Cannon320
Overton320
Henry320
Grundy311
Lincoln290
Jefferson290
Carroll281
Meigs270
Warren260
Weakley260
Perry240
Hardin222
Cocke210
Sequatchie200
Johnson190
Polk190
Jackson190
Carter191
Campbell181
Morgan170
Crockett162
Roane160
Henderson150
Humphreys151
McNairy150
Grainger130
Giles130
Stewart130
Claiborne120
Scott120
Fentress120
Chester120
Clay80
Houston80
Benton71
Moore50
Decatur50
Van Buren40
Union40
Lewis30
Pickett30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events