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Facebook opposes Myanmar coup

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After failing to stop hate speech and misinformation Contributed to genocide In Myanmar, Facebook now says that it plans to take aggressive content review measures after a military coup in the country.

In an internal message published late on Monday and reviewed by BuzzFeed News, Rafael Frankel, the head of public policy in the Asia-Pacific region, told employees that the social network is following the “turbulent situation” in Myanmar with “serious concern”, outlining a series of Measures to combat those who use it to spread misinformation or threaten violence.

As part of these measures, Facebook has designated Myanmar as a “temporary high-risk location” for two weeks, allowing the company to delete content and activities in the country, including “any call for arms.” After the rebellion in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, the social network had previously applied the name to Washington, DC.

The social network has touted its efforts to protect the integrity of Myanmar’s national elections in November. It also stated that it will protect posts criticizing the military and its coup, and will track related webpages and accounts that have been hacked or taken over by the military. Report.

“Myanmar’s November elections are an important moment in the country’s transition to democracy, although, as the international human rights organizations have emphasized, it is not without challenges,” Frankel wrote. “This turn of events reminds us of the days we hope to pass in Myanmar, and reminds us that we should never be taken for granted as basic rights.”

On Monday, Myanmar’s military chief, General Min Aung Lai, took control of the government and detained its democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party, after which Facebook took action.After the election The National League for Democracy won the majority In Myanmar’s parliament, opposition groups backed by the military called the election results fraudulent and demanded a new vote.

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department Official designation The military launched a coup in Myanmar, triggering financial sanctions.

“After reviewing all the facts, we assessed that the Myanmar military’s action to dismiss the officially elected head of government on February 1 constituted a military coup,” a State Department official said in a briefing. The name used by the U.S. government to refer to a country.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Facebook confirmed the actions it outlined in Frankel’s post and said it would remove content that praised or supported the coup.

“We put the safety of the people of Myanmar first and are removing content that violates our rules on violence, hate speech and harmful misinformation,” Frankel said. “This includes eliminating the misinformation that legitimized the November election results.”

Facebook is taking action in a country that has previously received international condemnation for its handling of the displacement and genocide of Rohingya Muslims that began in 2016. In 2018, UN investigators discovered that senior military officials in Myanmar used Facebook to have content moderators in the country. Incite fear and spread hate speech.

The UN investigators concluded that “it is necessary to conduct an independent and thorough investigation of the extent to which Facebook posts and messages lead to discrimination in the real world”. Their report.

In a post on Monday, Frankel stated that Facebook is using “some of the product interventions used during the elections in Myanmar and the US in the past to ensure that the platform is not used to spread misinformation, incite violence, or coordinate harm.”

Frankel wrote that the company is working to protect the accounts of activists and journalists who are “at risk or arrested” and delete content that threatens or calls for violence against them. In view of restrictions on the country’s news media, the company will also protect “critical information about what’s happening locally”.

Facebook’s work is an ongoing effort. On Tuesday, it deleted a page of the Myanmar Military Television Network later on Monday and asked about the following. Wall Street JournalAlthough the company banned a page of the Myawaddy TV network in 2018 During the repression On hundreds of accounts related to the Myanmar military, a new page reappeared and received 33,000 likes.

Facebook is often criticized for promoting the development of violent and extremist groups and their ineffectiveness in preventing misinformation. Recently, a technology regulatory organization accused the company of inciting riots, leading to a fatal attempted coup in the United States.

“[Facebook] In the past year, it has not been possible to eliminate the extremist activities and election-related conspiracy theories instigated by President Trump. These conspiracy theories have radicalized the general public and led many people on dangerous roads, “Technology Transparency Project” (TTP) Said in the report.

The report revealed specific threats made by pro-Trump and activist groups on Facebook before and after Joe Biden’s November victory.

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