Social media must clamp down on hate speech, UN rights boss says

It was now making progress, with better technology to identify hate speech and improved reporting tools. (Shutterstock)
Updated 29 August 2018
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Social media must clamp down on hate speech, UN rights boss says

  • Facebook had allowed its platform to be used to incite violence against Rohingya
  • Myanmar military officials from the social media website and an Instagram account to prevent the spread of “hate and misinformation” after reviewing the content

GENEVA: Social media, including Facebook , must proactively block content inciting hatred and prevent online campaigns which target minorities, such as those undertaken in Myanmar, the United Nations human rights chief said on Wednesday.
Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, was speaking after UN experts accused Myanmar generals of “genocidal intent” and said Facebook had allowed its platform to be used to incite violence against Rohingya.
Facebook said on Monday it was removing several Myanmar military officials from the social media website and an Instagram account to prevent the spread of “hate and misinformation” after reviewing the content.
Zeid, whose spokesman said he has met with major tech companies in Silicon Valley, including Facebook and Google, in recent months, was speaking to a news conference before his four-year term ends on Aug. 31.
Zeid said he didn’t feel Facebook took the issue seriously at first but that the company’s attitude began to change after Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, told a Geneva press conference in March that Facebook was being used in the country to spread hate speech.
“But it shouldn’t be because the press or the human rights community highlights the problem for them then suddenly to respond. They should be aware of it ahead of time,” he said.
“So I don’t think they should wait until the crisis begins. They should be thinking proactively about what steps they will take to mitigate that,” he added.
Facebook said on Monday that while it was too slow to act in the case of Myanmar, it was now making progress, with better technology to identify hate speech and improved reporting tools.
However, Zeid said there was a danger that social media could be over-regulated in a way that breaches human rights law including the right to freedom of expression.
Tech giants should “keep the broadest space available and open to the exercise of freedom of expression,” relying on international human rights law for regulation, he said.
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused Google’s search engine of promoting negative news articles and hiding “fair media” coverage of him, vowing to address the situation without providing evidence or giving details of action he might take.
Trump’s attack against the Alphabet Inc. unit follows a string of grievances against technology companies, including Twitter Inc. and Facebook, which he has accused of silencing conservative voices.


Malta journalist murder masterminds identified: report

Three men stand charged with Caruana Galizia’s murder. (Reuters)
Updated 18 November 2018
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Malta journalist murder masterminds identified: report

  • A group of “more than two” Maltese nationals had been identified as having ordered her killing
  • Caruana Galizia, who died on October 16 last year aged 53, sought to expose scandals from petrol smuggling to money laundering, implicating members of the government and organized crime

VALLETTA: The masterminds behind the 2017 car-bomb murder of Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia have been identified according to unnamed police sources quoted by The Sunday Times of Malta.
The report quoted high-ranking officers as saying that a group of “more than two” Maltese nationals had been identified as having ordered her killing.
Three suspects are under arrest for having carried out the murder and facing trial, but the identity of whoever ordered it has remained a mystery.
Caruana Galizia, who died on October 16 last year aged 53, sought to expose scandals from petrol smuggling to money laundering, implicating members of the government and organized crime.
Her blog also launched highly personal attacks on Maltese politicians.
Caruana Galizia’s journalist son Matthew last month blasted what he called a “system of impunity” he said was protecting those who ordered her killing.
Her son, who believes the murder was ordered by powerful figures, said it would “send a terrible lesson if only the people who pressed the button to detonate the bomb ended up in prison.”
Three men stand charged with her murder. Brothers Alfred Degiorgio and George Degiorgio as well as Vince Muscat were arrested on December 4 last year and charged with the murder. Their case is still pending.
The Caruana Galizia family said on Sunday that they was not formally informed by the police that the suspected masterminds had been identified.