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Article

30 Nov 2018

Author:
Professor John Ruggie, The New York Times

Commentary: Facebook should align its policies & practices with human rights norms

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"Should I quit Facebook? It's complicated," 28 Nov 2018

S. Matthew Liao... absolves Facebook of any responsibility for its role in the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya population in largely Buddhist Myanmar. Hate speech and incitement to violence on Facebook helped drive this genocidal campaign. Mr. Liao reasons that “Facebook did not intend for those things to occur on its platform.” The problem with this “intentionality” standard is that press reports and direct appeals repeatedly warned Facebook, first about the risks and then the actual events. Under prevailing international human rights norms, knowingly continuing to allow the vitriol to be posted turns Facebook into a “contributor” to the heinous acts themselves.

... On Nov. 5, [Facebook] issued an independent human rights impact assessment of its role in Myanmar. In an accompanying blog, Alex Warofka, a Facebook policy product manager, stated that “we weren’t doing enough to help prevent our platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence.” Facebook should now align its policies and practices with prevailing international human rights norms.

Part of the following stories

Facebook & Twitter allegedly taking insufficient action to stop spread of hate speech & misinformation through their platforms

Myanmar: Human rights assessment of Facebook reveals company not doing enough to prevent violence