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15 Mar 2018

Shihar Aneez & Ranga Sirilal, Reuters

Sri Lanka lifts ban on Facebook imposed after spasm of communal violence

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Sri Lankan officials said on Thursday they had lifted a ban on Facebook after discussions with the social network, a week after blocking access on the grounds it was being used to fuel communal violence. At least two people were killed in clashes last week when Sinhalese Buddhists, angered by the killing of a Buddhist driver by Muslims, attacked mosques and Muslim-owned properties. Some of the violence was instigated by threatening posts on Facebook, according to the government, which cut access to Facebook, Viber and WhatsApp on March 7. It initially said the ban would last for three days but extended the block without informing the public, users said... Government officials have said Facebook’s action against those who spread hate speech had been too slow. “Facebook officials agreed to speed up the response time,” [said] telecommunication minister Harin Fernando... Facebook Inc said in a statement to Reuters its officials met Sri Lankan government officials to outline the company’s community standards and commitment to removing hate speech and incitement to violence from its platform... “We have clear rules against such content, and will remove it when we’re made aware of it. We are glad access to our services, and important connections for people and businesses, have been restored,” the statement said.

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Sri Lanka: Facebook used to fuel violence against Muslims; inc. company statement

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