Facebook: ‘Too Slow’ in Preventing Hate Speech in Myanmar
San Francisco: The ethnic violence in Myanmar is horrific and we have been “too slow” to prevent the spread of misinformation and hate speech on our platform, Facebook acknowledged on Thursday. The admission came after a Reuters investigation on Wednesday revealed that Facebook has struggled to address hate posts about the minority Rohingya, the social media giant said the rate at which bad content is reported in Burmese, whether it’s hate speech or misinformation, is low. “This is due to challenges with our reporting tools, technical issues with font display and a lack of familiarity with our policies. We’re investing heavily in Artificial Intelligence that can proactively flag posts that break our rules,” Sara Su, Product Manager at Facebook, said in a statement.
According to Facebook, in the second quarter of 2018, it proactively identified about 52 percent of the content it removed for hate speech in Myanmar. Facebook said it proactively identified posts as recently as last week that indicated a threat of credible violence in Myanmar. “We removed the posts and flagged them to civil society groups to ensure that they were aware of potential violence,” said the blog post.
In May, a coalition of activists from eight countries, including India and Myanmar, called on Facebook to put in place a transparent and consistent approach to moderation. The coalition demanded civil rights and political bias audits into Facebook’s role in abetting human rights abuses, spreading misinformation and manipulation of democratic processes in their respective countries.
Besides India and Myanmar, the other countries that the activists represented were Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the Philippines, Syria, and Ethiopia. Not only Myanmar, activists in Sri Lanka have argued that the lack of local moderators — specifically moderators fluent in the Sinhalese language spoken by the country’s Buddhist majority — had allowed hate speech run wild on the platform. Facebook said it is working with a network of independent organizations to identify hate posts. (IANS)