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5 Nov 2018

Dunstan Allison-Hope, BSR

Commentary: Our human rights impact assessment of Facebook in Myanmar

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Facebook has published the human rights impact assessment (HRIA) of the company’s presence in Myanmar that it engaged BSR to undertake earlier this year... Facebook’s decision to publish the report in unredacted form also demonstrates an impressive commitment to transparency and sets an example for other companies to follow... Last month, the UN Human Rights Council’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar concluded that serious crimes under international law have been committed by military and security forces that warrant criminal investigation and prosecution. The use of Facebook to spread anti-Muslim, anti-Rohingya sentiment featured prominently in the Mission’s report.

... [Our] recommendations are shaped by the observation that Facebook’s human rights impacts in Myanmar cannot be addressed by Facebook alone, but also require system-wide change [and include]:

  1. Community standards enforcement by Facebook, such as continuing to build a cross-functional team that understands the local Myanmar context, as well as a stricter implementation of Facebook’s credible violence policy and further development of artificial intelligence solutions that support human decision-making... [and]
  2. Risk mitigation and opportunity enhancement, such as preparations for the 2020 elections in Myanmar and for the possibility that WhatsApp becomes more commonly used, as well as the development of new products and services that accelerate growth of the digital economy in Myanmar.