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Human Rights Report Shows FB Didn't Do Enough To Prevent Violence In Myanmar

Facebook Inc. (FB) said that an independent human rights' report concluded that, prior to this year, Facebook wasn't doing enough to help prevent platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence. Facebook agree that it can and should do more.

Facebook commissioned an independent human rights impact assessment on the role of services in Myanmar and today it is publishing the findings. The assessment was completed by BSR or Business for Social Responsibility - an independent non-profit organization with expertise in human rights practices and policies — in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and our pledge as a member of the Global Network Initiative.

Over the course of this year, the company has invested heavily in people, technology and partnerships to examine and address the abuse of Facebook in Myanmar, and BSR's report acknowledges that the company is now taking the right corrective actions, Facebook said.

BSR's report also examines the complex social and political context in Myanmar, which includes a population that has fast come online, a legal framework that does not reflect universal human rights principles, and cultural, religious, and ethnic tension. In this environment, the BSR report explains, Facebook alone cannot bring about the broad changes needed to address the human rights situation in Myanmar.

BSR provided several recommendations for our continued improvement across five key areas, in order to help mitigate the adverse human rights impact and maximize the opportunities for freedom of expression, digital literacy, and economic development. These areas include building on existing governance and accountability structures, improving enforcement of content policies, increasing engagement with local stakeholders, advocating for regulatory reform and preparing for the future.

As the BSR report notes, the company has made progress towards many of the recommendations put forth in the report, but there is more to do.

The report concludes with mention of future developments in Myanmar, among them the 2020 elections, and the growth and development of Facebook products and services in the country.

Facebook said, "Earlier this year, we established a dedicated team across product, engineering, and policy to work on issues specific to Myanmar, and said that we plan to grow our team of native Myanmar language speakers reviewing content to at least 100 by the end of 2018. We have now hired and onboarded 99 of these reviewers. This team is making a difference, improving the development and enforcement of our policies."

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