But Facebook’s sprawling bureaucracy and its excitement over the potential of the the Myanmar market appeared to override concerns about the proliferation of hate speech. "When the media spotlight has been on there has been talk of changes, but after it passes are we actually going to see significant action?” Madden asks. Still the secrecy around Facebook’s operations persists. Facebook recently posted ads for Myanmar-focused jobs, including a public policy manager, specifying that fluency in Burmese and an understanding “of the Myanmar political system” were essential skills for the Singapore-based job. Zuckerberg said Facebook had a three-pronged approach to address issues in Myanmar— “dramatically” ramp up its local language content reviewers, take down accounts of individuals and groups that generate hate speech, and introduce products specially designed for the country, though he offered few details on what these would entail. A former senior government official said Zaw Htay was the “focal person,” of Facebook’s dealings with the country’s government. As hate speech and dubious articles quickly began to surface in volume on Facebook in 2012 and 2013, many targeting Muslims and the Rohingya in particular, the government raised concerns that the site could be used to incite unrest. Thein Sein was sworn in as president of Myanmar in March 2011 for a five-year term. Not that the increased government scrutiny deterred Aung Naing Soe from pursuing his work as a journalist. Mobile penetration leapt to 56 percent by 2015, according to a Deloitte report, with many Burmese accessing the internet for the first time on phones. Myanmar had been ruled since 1962 by successive military regimes that drove the country into political isolation, crippled the economy, oppressed ethnic minorities, and repeatedly put down popular uprisings with deadly force. See actions taken by the people who manage and post content. "The extent to which Facebook posts and messages have led to real-world discrimination and violence must be independently and thoroughly examined. The UN lambasted Facebook’s conduct in the crisis, which the global body says "bears the hallmarks of genocide,” by serving as a platform for hate speech and disinformation, saying Facebook had "turned into a beast.”. Tens of thousands of Rohingya were disenfranchised as they languished in ramshackle camps. A panel discussion had been hastily arranged after the riots with the help of Tun, Zaw Htay, and others. It said it remains "committed to working with our UK industry partners to find ways to support journalism and help the long-term sustainability of news organisations". 917K likes. “The good part of being arrested is this problem is officially solved,” he says with a laugh. About See All. Myanmar came up in the hearings too. Not Now. In an interview, Aung Naing Soe says he was approached by a member of Special Branch, a notorious intelligence unit of the Myanmar Police Force, who questioned him about the false accusation of being a member of ARSA, which, in the time it was on Facebook, was widely shared including by a former member of parliament. Vermont’s Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy raised the case during Zuckerberg’s testimony in April: One post aimed at Aung Naing Soe, he said, “calls for the death of a Muslim journalist. Callan returned to the company’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters in early March 2014, after follow-up meetings, with an official from a Myanmar tech civil society organization to again raise the issues with the company and show Facebook “how serious it [hate speech and disinformation] was,” Callan says. Aung San Suu Kyi, who is barred by the constitution from holding the presidency, serves as the country’s de facto leader with the title of State Counsellor. Hungry for even more deep-dives on your next favorite topic? or. In 2013 an official from Human Rights Watch was largely dismissive that Facebook could play a major role in the spread of hate speech. Garlick acknowledges that the company has been “too slow,” to respond to issues raised by civil society groups. Today, according to the UN’s International Telecommunication Union, citing official figures, internet access is around 25 percent and mobile penetration around 90 percent. “That’s not 20/20 hindsight. A parliamentary election in 2010 was widely criticized as far from free and fair but an important step for the military’s carefully choreographed transition to quasi-civilian rule. The office of the Commander-in-Chief in March posted photos of dismembered children and dead babies, claiming they were attacked by Rohingya terrorists, to counter British MPs, who were sharply critical of the country’s handling of the Rohingya crisis. “He was quite worried.” Facebook does not maintain an office in Myanmar, and there was, according to Tun, confusion over how to reach officials at the company. Building A3, Wing B, Star City, … About See all. Facebook Film Describes Efforts to Curb "Fake News". He told Congress in written testimony that he is "responsible for" not preventing the social media platform from being used for harm, including fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech. To critics of the social media company, the early response to the Mandalay riots were harbingers of the difficulties it would face in Myanmar in the coming years—difficulties that persist to this day: A slow response time to posts violating Facebook’s standards, a barebones staff without the capacity to handle hate speech or understand Myanmar’s cultural nuances, an over-reliance on a small collection of local civil society groups to alert the company to possibly dangerous posts spreading on the platform. Upon his release, he noticed two things—the heavier traffic choking the streets of Yangon and the widespread usage of mobile phones. If the intentions of the police were to deter Aung Naing Soe from reporting, they didn’t work. See more of One News Myanmar on Facebook. The militant group attacked police posts in October 2016 and again in August 2017, sparking the massive campaign against the Rohingya that has driven hundreds of thousands to neighboring Bangladesh. The continued frustrations faced by civil society groups, tech organizations, and those at the receiving end of harassment on Facebook burst into public view this spring in the wake of an incident involving the detection and removal of yet more disinformation. The digital transformation was poised to accelerate that year, when the government granted licenses to two foreign telecoms providers—Norway’s Telenor and and Qatar’s Ooredoo—ending the state monopoly. Some activists and rights groups, however, were not totally convinced of the threat of online hate speech. The company, however, has failed to provide details about these monitors. (Five people, including a woman who admitted she was paid to make the false rape claim, were eventually sentenced to 21 years in prison for their roles in starting the riots.). or. But the process lacks scalability and is not efficient, those involved say. Pyi Myanmar News Journal is the oldest and top Myanmar news journal published weekly since 1996. Create New Account. A firefighter sprays a smoldering building in the wake of clashes between Buddhists and Muslims that left at least 20 people dead in a the central Myanmar town of Meikhtila in 2013. Respondents said that they were most likely to get their news from Facebook rather than newspapers, though radio, relatives and friends, and TV were more popular. The fear of web suppression was not unfounded. Reining in the tech giants. During an interview with the website Vox in early April, Zuckerberg claimed the the company had found chain letters that were widely shared across the country on Facebook messenger starting in early September. UPDATE: This article has been revised to include Facebook's announcement that it will expand its efforts to remove material that could incite violence. ), "From at least that Mandalay incident, Facebook knew. While the positive developments in Myanmar under Thein Sein were noteworthy, tremendous challenges remained. The stickers were part of the broader “ Panzagar” campaign, “flower speech” in English, launched by activists, including former political prisoners, to counter hate speech and promote online inclusion. Garlick, Facebook’s director of policy for the Asia-Pacific region, whose remit included Myanmar, told the audience that in response to the violence the company planned to speed up translation of the sites’ user guidelines and code of conduct into Burmese. Album. This slowly began to change, and in 2012, mostly in major cities like Yangon and Mandalay, SIM card prices fell to hundreds of dollars from over a thousand, making them slightly more accessible though still out of reach to most. ", Facebook shutters 216 pages, groups, accounts in Myanmar, some linked to army, Facebook removes more accounts linked to military propaganda in Myanmar, After heavy criticism, Facebook bans Myanmar leaders to prevent spread of hate, Ontario planning to implement provincewide lockdown, including school closures: sources, Iran sentences ‘Zombie Angelina Jolie’ to 10 years in jail for photos, ‘SNL’ cold open reveals who will play Joe Biden post-Jim Carrey, U.S. investigating 5 allergic reactions to Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, Over half a million Canadians have now been infected with the coronavirus, Ontario reports 2,316 new coronavirus cases, 25 deaths, Video of arrest at Calgary community rink results in accusations of police ‘going overboard’, Coronavirus: Many flock to malls as Hamilton set to enter lockdown Monday, Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses distributed to U.S. C4ADS, a Washington-based nonprofit that has worked with firms like data company Palantir, released an exhaustive report detailing hate speech trends and its facilitators in February 2016. He quickly returned to covering protests and jailings of other journalists while doling out cigarettes to fellow reporters in the informal Yangon press corps. Why couldn't it be removed within 24 hours?”. Their efforts were largely unsuccessful. In early 2015, in collaboration with local tech civil society groups, Facebook made a set of digital stickers available on the messenger platform. “It is clear they don’t know about the ethnic and social politics in the countries” that they operate in. 555 likes. The state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper declared in 2013 that in Myanmar, “a person without a Facebook identity is like a person without a home address.”. The service, which was never adopted by Telenor or Oooredoo, was quietly shuttered in Myanmar due to government regulation changes the following year. To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. Kumudra. We welcome your comments, feedback and messages but please respect other Facebook … Consider the case of journalist and translator Aung Naing Soe, who in November 2016 was targeted online after users began circulating a picture they claimed showed him standing with members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. People. Civil society groups were caught off guard and angered by Zuckerberg’s characterization that Facebook’s systems had detected the messages, which differed greatly from theirs. or. But the military is not under civilian oversight and retains an outsized role in the country’s political arena, controlling a quarter of all parliament seats as well as three key ministries. Contact One News Myanmar on Messenger. Log In. 2.8M likes. Among officials whose Facebook data is being sought were Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of Myanmar's armed forces. Forgot account? Zuckerberg’s admission that Facebook needed to improve came too late for some critics who said he failed to adequately take responsibility for what has been a long-term issue. AFP. Aela Callan, a foreign correspondent on a fellowship from Stanford University, met with Elliot Schrage, vice president of global communications for Facebook, in November 2013 to discuss hate speech and fake user pages that were pervasive in Myanmar. Myanmar was a small but unique market for the company, and Facebook has taken a multi-faceted approach in recent years to better serve users, Garlick says. Comments, feedback and messages have led to real-world discrimination and violence to consume a country emerging from military.... Officially solved, ” to respond to requests for comment about his experience and identified! Had been hastily arranged after the riots wouldn ’ t have happened without Facebook of being arrested is this was. 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