Facebook: Remove Hate Speech in Myanmar

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook

Rohingya_refugees

Please sign our petition to end hate speech in Burma.

This hate speech has fueled the Burmese army's march towards its genocide of the Rohingya and its war crimes against the Kachin, Shan, Karen, and other ethnic minorities in Myanmar. Demand that Facebook never be used for hate speech in Burma.

This demand has gained new importance with the news in June 2020 that the Myanmar military has opened new propaganda accounts on Facebook. In August 2018, Facebook removed 18 accounts and 50 pages associated with the military, including the account of the army chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Moreover, the army has opened these new accounts as the Myanmar military is on trial at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on charges of genocide. In June 2020, lawyers bringing the ICJ case asked a U.S. district court to order Facebook to release posts and communications of Myanmar military and police.

The Guardian (UK) reported that, in the months before the Burmese army's offensive against the Rohingya in August 2017, posts on Facebook became “more organised and odious, and more militarised.” Posts on Facebook included fabricated stories stating that “mosques in Yangon are stockpiling weapons in an attempt to blow up various Buddhist pagodas and Shwedagon pagoda,”, the most sacred Buddhist site in Yangon. The United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, said that Facebook “substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict” in Burma.

In June 2019, the Burma Campaign UK called on Facebook to remove more than 25 Burmese military linked Facebook Pages on its site. The Pages are either run by the military, or by military-owned or controlled companies, or exactly reproduce military propaganda but may not be directly run by the military.

Together, let's demand that Facebook never lets its platform to be used again for campaigns of hate speech.

More Information:

"US court asked to force Facebook to release Myanmar officials' data for genocide case," Reuters, 10 June 2020

"Gambia v. Facebook," filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 8 June 2020

"Critics Warn of Deception as Myanmar Military Returns to Facebook After 2018 Purge," Radio Free Asia, 10 June 2020

"Facebook: Close Burma Military Related Facebook Pages," Burma Campaign UK, 6 June 2019

"Revealed: Facebook hate speech exploded in Myanmar during Rohingya crisis," The Guardian, April 2, 2018

"Weaponizing Social Media: The Rohingya Crisis," CBS News, February 26, 2018

"Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook's Hardest Year, and What Comes Next," Vox,... The Ezra Klein Show, March 2018

"Groups In Myanmar Fire Back at Zuckerberg," New York Times, April 5th, 2018

Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg from Burmese civil society groups

"Zuckerberg Was Called Out Over Myanmar Violence. Here's His Response," New York Times, April 9th, 2018


Sponsored by
Additional Sponsors

To: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
From: [Your Name]

We demand that Facebook stop the Myanmar military and ultranationalist groups in Burma from spreading anti-Muslim and anti-Rohingya hate speech on its platform.

This hate speech has fueled the Burmese army's march towards genocide of the Rohingya. Tell us what Facebook will do to ensure that it never lets its platform to be used again for campaigns of hate speech.

Alan Davis, an analyst from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting who led a two-year study of hate speech in Burma (Myanmar), told The Guardian (UK) that, in the months before the Burmese army's offensive against the Rohingya in August 2017, he noticed posts on Facebook becoming “more organised and odious, and more militarised”

According to the Guardian, his research team encountered fabricated stories stating that “mosques in Yangon are stockpiling weapons in an attempt to blow up various Buddhist pagodas and Shwedagon pagoda”, the most sacred Buddhist site in Yangon in a smear campaign against Muslims. These pages also featured posts calling Rohingya the derogatory term “kalars” and “Bengali terrorists”. Signs denoting “Muslim-free” areas were shared more than 11,000 times.

In a recent report on the Rohingya crisis, Marzuki Darusman, head of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, said Facebook “substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict” in Burma. “Hate speech is certainly of course a part of that,” Darusman said. “As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media.”

In an interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, you have acknowledged Facebook’s role in fueling and inciting anti-Muslim and anti-Rohingya sentiment. “The Myanmar issues have, I think, gotten a lot of focus inside the company,” you told Vox. “And they’re real issues and we take this really seriously.”

If Facebook does indeed take this seriously, tell us what Facebook will do to ensure that it never lets its platform to be used again for campaigns of hate speech.