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Facebook fueled Rohingya crisis, U.N. investigators say

Rohingya refugees
Rohingya women and children at a Bangladeshi refugee camp. Photo: Masfiqur Sohan / NurPhoto via Getty Image

Human rights investigators at the United Nations are saying that Facebook played "a determining role" in disseminating hateful rhetoric in Myanmar, Reuters reports. Close to 670,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees have fled atrocities in Myanmar's Rakhine State and the U.N. is investigating a possible genocide there.

Why it matters: It's the latest accusation from around the world on Big Tech's influence and potential to cause harm.

“Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar. It was used to convey public messages but we know that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists have their own Facebooks and are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities. I’m afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended.”
— U.N. Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee to Reuters

Facebook's response...

  • "We take this incredibly seriously and have worked with experts in Myanmar for several years to develop safety resources and counter-speech campaigns," a Facebook spokesperson said.
  • Facebook has created a Safety Page for Myanmar, which is a locally illustrated version of their Community Standards, and is working with advocacy groups on the ground, urging them to report content so Facebook can remove it swiftly.
Dave Lawler 6 hours ago
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What Trump and Putin did and didn't discuss

President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin this afternoon, and congratulated him on winning re-election on Sunday. After the call, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked whether Trump felt the election had been free and fair, and said it wasn’t up to the U.S. to “dictate" how Russia holds elections.

The bottom line: Trump is not alone in congratulating Putin — leaders in France, Germany and elsewhere have done so this week, as Barack Obama did in 2012. But past administrations certainly have seen it as America’s role to call balls and strikes when it comes to elections abroad, and weigh in when democratic institutions are being undermined. A departure from that approach would be welcomed not only by Putin, but other leaders of pseudo democracies around the world.

Haley Britzky 2 hours ago
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Another explosion rattles Austin, unrelated to prior package bombings

Police and FBI Agents investigate at the Sunset Valley FedEx store in Austin, Texas, which is linked to the package bomb.
Police and FBI Agents investigate at the Sunset Valley FedEx store in Austin, Texas, which is linked to the package bomb. Photo: Suzanne Cordeiro / AFP / Getty Images

Officials are responding to a sixth explosion in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday night, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The Austin Police Department said they don't believe it is connected to the previous explosions around the city.

The details: Per the Statesman, the explosion occurred at a Goodwill and one man is being treated for "potentially serious injuries." CBS News' David Begnaud reports that the incendiary device was a flare, "included in a bunch of donated items." Per KVUE in Austin, "the victim was an employee who was looking through donations."