Facebook hate speech exploded in Myanmar during Rohingya crisis

April 3, 2018 | By | Reply More

Hate speech exploded on Facebook at the start of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar last year, analysis has revealed, with experts blaming the social network for creating “chaos” in the country.

Facebook hate speech exploded in Myanmar during Rohingya crisis Evidence of the spike emerged after the platform was accused of playing a key role in the spread of hate speech in Myanmar at a time when 650,000 Rohingya refugees were forced to flee to Bangladesh following persecution.

Digital researcher and analyst Raymond Serrato examined about 15,000 Facebook posts from supporters of the hardline nationalist Ma Ba Tha group. The earliest posts dated from June 2016 and spiked on 24 and 25 August 2017, when ARSA Rohingya militants attacked government forces, prompting the security forces to launch the “clearance operation” that sent hundreds of thousands of Rohingya pouring over the border.

Evidence of the spike emerged after the platform was accused of playing a key role in the spread of hate speech in Myanmar at a time when 650,000 Rohingya refugees were forced to flee to Bangladesh following persecution.

Digital researcher and analyst Raymond Serrato examined about 15,000 Facebook posts from supporters of the hardline nationalist Ma Ba Tha group. The earliest posts dated from June 2016 and spiked on 24 and 25 August 2017, when ARSA Rohingya militants attacked government forces, prompting the security forces to launch the “clearance operation” that sent hundreds of thousands of Rohingya pouring over the border.

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.

When the monitors working with Davis called officials about the signs, they were told the officials knew nothing about them. When he tried to fund a team of local journalists to investigate and report on them, the journalists all declined for reasons of safety.

Press journalist for HRO media – Ignacio Damigo reports.

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Category: International

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