Facebook Joins ‘Dirty List’ Of 49 Companies Accused Of Violating Human Rights In Myanmar

A soldier stands guard at quarter No.3 in Pauktaw township, that was burned in recent violence between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya, on October 27, 2012 in Pauktaw, Myanmar. Over twenty thousand people have been left displaced following violent clashes which has so far claimed a reported 80 lives. Clashes between Rakhine people, who make up the majority of the state's population, and Muslims from the state of Rohingya began in June.
Kaung Htet / Getty Images

Several companies from the U.S., U.K., France, Switzerland, and China have been added to a “dirty list” compiled of corporations accused of human rights or environmental violations in Myanmar, reports the Guardian. Also added to the list are companies allegedly involved with the country’s military, which has been accused of genocide.

The list, created by U.K.-based company Burma Campaign, names several tech companies, primarily Facebook, that have either provided arms, infrastructure, technology, engineering, or services to the Burmese military or contributed to environmental destruction through mining and hydroelectric dams.

The organization names Facebook on the list as it “consistently allowed its platform to be used to incite hatred and violence [against] minorities in Burma, in particular the Rohingya Muslim minority and Muslims in general.”

It is not the first time that Facebook has been accused of allowing hateful, racially inflammatory, and unregulated content on its site. Data collection carried out by the United Nations has found that Facebook is responsible for stoking ethnic tensions, especially in Myanmar, and that they have allowed harmful content to continue unchecked for years.

An independent report carried out in Myanmar expands on how Facebook has negatively affected its people.

“Facebook has become a means for those seeking to spread hate and cause harm, and posts have been linked to offline violence.”

Although Facebook has allegedly taken steps to correct this issue and rectify the abuse of social media in Myanmar, Burma Campaign claims that they have not taken the appropriate measures.

“‘It [Facebook] continues to host the page of the Information Committee, formerly State Counsellor Information Committee, which is run from Aung San Suu Kyi’s office,’ it said, referring to Myanmar’s leader, once an opposition figure backed by the west but now a pariah. Since 2016 this was one of the main official government/military pages on Facebook used for inciting fear and hatred of the Rohingya, including the notorious ‘Fake Rape’ poster denying that independently verified claims of rape of Rohingya women by the Burmese military are true.”

Facebook has since released a statement claiming that they take the matter of human rights violations seriously and have invested in the necessary tools and people to investigate and rectify the issue in Myanmar. They added that any pages or accounts related to the military have been taken down and that 20 organizations and individuals have been banned from Facebook in Myanmar, including Sen Gen Min Aung Hlaing, commander in chief of the armed forces.