Social media platform and tech giant Facebook admits to sharing data surrounding the international crimes in Myanmar with the United Nation to Reuters on Tuesday, August 25, 2020. The admission comes after the company drew flak from supposedly withholding evidence on the investigation.
In 2018, the United Nations investigations showed that Facebook had been complicit in the government’s propaganda to spread hate speech against the minority group. Reuters reports that 18 accounts and 52 pages linked to the military have been removed by the tech giant. However, it maintains that Facebook has preserved the data involving these crimes.
Following numerous criticism from a number of Rohingya rights groups, a Facebook representative shared with Reuters that it had already given the Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar (IIMM) data related to the propaganda towards the genocide of the Muslim minority Rohingya population.
In a statement, the Facebook representative told Reuters that “As these investigations proceed, we will continue to coordinate with them to provide relevant information as they investigate international crimes in Myanmar.”
According to Reuters, Myanmar is being charged with genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) following military intervention to push the Rohingya population out of the country and into Bangladesh. Approximately 730,000 people have been affected by the said incident.
Facebook’s cooperation with the authorities comes after it is accused of Rohingya rights groups of playing a key role in the 2017 Myanmar violence against the thousands of minorities forced to flee their homes.
In a statement on Sunday, August 23, 2020, representatives from different rights groups such as the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights, Rohingya Youth for Legal Action, Rohingya Women for Justice and Peace, and the Voice of Rohingya called for Facebook’s cooperation and data input to obtain justice against the Myanmar violence, reports the Business Standard.
The representatives from the four Rohingya rights group held a phone call meeting with Facebook Director for Human Rights Miranda Sissons alongside colleague Alex Waraofka.
As of writing, Sissons assured the representatives that it has been “doing a lot of work to counter violent hate speech. This work is important in Myanmar, especially in the lead up to elections (scheduled for November 8).”
Despite its cooperation with the authorities, it appears that the first data set given by the tech giant to authorities only “partially complies” with the information required by the IIMM. The head of IIMM also told Reuters that Facebook has yet to disclose data and evidence of “serious international crimes.”
Meanwhile, Reuters states that Myanmar still vehemently denies its involvement with the said genocide, citing military forces were simply operating against attackers who were targetting police positions.