Facebook says it was "too slow" to fight hate speech in Myanmar

Remigio Civitarese
Августа 19, 2018

The acknowledgement came a day after a Reuters investigation revealed how the company has struggled to address a wave of vitriolic posts about the minority Rohingya, targeted previous year in what the United Nations has termed ethnic cleansing.

A Bangladeshi delegation that recently visited Myanmar to peacefully resolve the Rohingya refugee crisis has returned without making any significant progress, according to a senior Bangladeshi official.

A panel appointed by the Myanmar government to probe alleged human rights abuses against the country's ethnic Rohingya minority has met for the first time.

"The ethnic violent in Myanmar is horrific and we have been too slow to prevent misinformation and hate", Facebook product manager Sara Su wrote in a Wednesday statement.

In early 2015, for instance, there were only two people at Facebook who could speak Burmese monitoring problematic posts.

Facebook, one of the largest social networking platforms, has delayed formal response of racial hate speech online.

The company said that it had over 60 "Myanmar language experts" in June and plans to have at least 100 by the end of the year.

In the company's statement, which was posted online, Facebook stated that it was using tools to automatically detect hate speech. It relies instead on the outsourced, secretive operation in Kuala Lumpur, which is a project called Honey Badger, to monitor hate speech and other problematic posts, the investigation showed.

The Reuters story revealed the social media giant for years dedicated scant resources to combating hate speech in Myanmar, which is a market it dominates and where there have been repeated eruptions of ethnic violence.

Myanmar has asked Bangladesh to stop providing aid to 6,000 Rohingya stranded on the border between the two countries since a military crackdown prompted a mass exodus of the Muslim minority past year, the foreign ministry in Dhaka said.

In its statement on Thursday, Facebook said it had banned a number of Myanmar hate figures and organisations from the platform.

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