Facebook cracks down on bogus posts inciting violence

Facebook has implemented a series of changes aimed at fighting use of the social network to spread misinformation. (AFP)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Facebook cracks down on bogus posts inciting violence

  • Facebook may remove inaccurate or misleading context, such as doctored photos
  • Hate speech and threats deemed credible are violations of Facebook rules, and are removed

MENLO PARK, United States: Facebook on Wednesday built on its campaign to prevent the platform from being used to spread dangerous misinformation, saying it will remove bogus posts likely to spark violence.
The new tactic being spread through the global social network was tested in Sri Lanka, which was recently rocked by inter-religious over false information posted on the world’s leading online social network.
“There are certain forms of misinformation that have contributed to physical harm, and we are making a policy change which will enable us to take that type of content down,” a Facebook spokesman said after a briefing on the policy at the company’s campus in Silicon Valley.
“We will be begin implementing the policy during the coming months.”
For example, Facebook may remove inaccurate or misleading context, such as doctored photos, created or shared to stir up to ignite volatile situations in the real world.
The social network said it is partnering with local organizations and authorities adept at identifying when posts are false and likely to prompt violence.
Misinformation removed in Sri Lanka under the new policy included content falsely contending that Muslims were poisoning food given or sold to Buddhists, according to Facebook.
Hate speech and threats deemed credible are violations of Facebook rules, and are removed.
The new policy takes another step back, eliminating content that may not be explicitly violent but which seems likely to encourage such behavior.
Facebook has been lambasted for allowing rumors or blatantly false information to circulate that may have contributed to violence.
Many see Facebook as being used as a vehicle for spreading false information in recent years.
Facebook has implemented a series of changes aimed at fighting use of the social network to spread misinformation, from fabrications that incite violence to untruths that sway elections.


Rally to mark one year since arrest of Myanmar Reuters journalists

Reuters journalists Wa Lone (L) and Kyaw Soe Oo, who are based in Myanmar, pose for a picture at the Reuters office in Yangon, Myanmar December 11, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 12 December 2018
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Rally to mark one year since arrest of Myanmar Reuters journalists

  • Their trial was widely regarded as a sham — and punishment for reporting on the September 2017 massacre in Inn Din village led by Myanmar security forces

YANGON: Protesters in Yangon Wednesday will mark one year since the arrest of two Myanmar Reuters journalists who exposed a massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were arrested outside a Yangon restaurant on December 12 and later handed seven-year jail sentences after exposing the extrajudicial killing of 10 Rohingya men during the military’s brutal crackdown on the stateless minority last year.
The guilty verdict sparked condemnation from around the world, including from US Vice President Mike Pence, and Reuters hired prominent rights attorney Amal Clooney to assist with the case.
The reporters were also honored among other persecuted or slain journalists in Time magazine’s Person of the Year issue this week.
But despite a tenacious advocacy campaign the two remain behind bars, with an appeal set for later this month.
Supporters will gather in downtown Yangon Wednesday afternoon as Reuters invites people from around the world to post photos on social media of the “thumbs up” gesture that became a symbol of the pair’s court appearances.
“The fact that they remain in prison for a crime they did not commit calls into question Myanmar’s commitment to democracy, freedom of expression and rule of law,” Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen J Adler said in a statement on the anniversary of the arrest.
“Every day they continue to be behind bars is a missed opportunity for Myanmar to stand up for justice.”
Their trial was widely regarded as a sham — and punishment for reporting on the September 2017 massacre in Inn Din village led by Myanmar security forces.
One whistleblowing police officer told the court his superior ordered a sting to entrap the reporters — testimony the judge chose to ignore.
Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi remained defiant when pressed on the case, insisting that due process was followed.
Her reaction further tarnished her image as a democracy icon overseas after she refused to speak up for the Rohingya during bloody “clearance operations” in Rakhine last year.
More than 720,000 Rohingya Muslims fled over the border into refugee camps in Bangladesh, bringing with them horrific reports of widespread murder, torture, rape and arson.
UN investigators have called for the top generals to be prosecuted for genocide and accused Suu Kyi and her government of complicity.
Myanmar rejects almost all allegations, saying it was defending itself against Rohingya militants.
But a court did convict soldiers accused of carrying out the Inn Din massacre to 10 years each.