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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.
Haley Britzky 7 hours ago
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Zuckerberg happy to testify if it is "the right thing to do”

A portrait of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
A portrait of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Jaap Arriens / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he would be "happy" to testify before Congress if it was "the right thing to do," in an interview with CNN's Laurie Segall.

Why it matters: Facebook has been under the microscope lately for what Zuckerberg called earlier today the "Cambridge Analytica situation." Zuckerberg said if he was the "person...who will have the most knowledge," then he'd be the one to testify in the face of Facebook's data-collection situation.

David McCabe 1 hour ago
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Fed-up Congress considers making it easier to sue Big Social

A GIF shows a gavel coming coming down on a website, computer and iPhone
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Anti-sex-trafficking legislation heading for President Trump's desk that makes it easier to sue platforms like Facebook and Google's YouTube could provide a template for a larger crackdown on malicious content.

Why it matters: After controversies over Russian election interference and data privacy, some in the industry seem to acknowledge that regulation may be coming. "I actually am not sure we shouldn't be regulated," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told CNN Wednesday night, answering questions about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.