Facebook Met By A Perfect Hate Storm Of Sorts In Myanmar
Facebook already has a hard time filtering through and flagging posts that are categorized as 'hateful' or 'fear-mongering.' However, as Facebook started to open up in Myanmar, they were unprepared for the deluge of 'hate speech' that came through as Myanmar berated the Rohingya crisis.
BBC explains that it was generations upon generations where Myanmar's residents have been suppressed through racial conditioning and religious censoring.When the Internet came to Myanmar, Facebook was one of the first sites Myanmar's residents had access to. This had the unintended effect of turning into something no one ever expected, and Myanmar turned Facebook into something worse than what it is now.
It was the effect of a long time of being cutoff from the rest of the world. When Aung San Suu Kyi became the country's leader, things began to ease up, and it seemed that everything would become better. Companies started to come in. However, it appeared that Myanmar was unprepared with certain liberties that were suddenly available to them again, after a long time of censorship.
It had the unfortunate effect of spreading hate in a country which was supposed to spread the joys of freedom after so many years of suppression. When the Rohingya crisis erupted last year, hate spread through Facebook; the effect was more than 650,000 refugees fleeing to nearby Bangladesh to escape from persecution.
An anti-Rohingya group, according to The Guardian, operated within the platform, and the hate speech was a far cry from a supposedly liberal offering in that country. It was enough to get founder Mark Zuckerberg criticized; those who analyzed the situation pointed out that what Facebook did wasn't enough, and it was thanks to them that the Rohingya refugees were forced to flee a nation that was one of their only shelters.
It was bad enough that Facebook virtually remained the only source of information in the country. While Mark Zuckerberg spoke up, the damage had been done in Myanmar. More censorship can be urged, but a country as racially diverse as Myanmar was a powder keg waiting to happen. More than the government, Facebook was encouraged to help in efforts to make the situation less volatile.
This is Facebook weaponized, according to those who saw what happened. The problem is, with lax security, even in small amounts, it was happening everywhere.