Will do more to tackle hate speech in Myanmar: Zuckerberg

11 April 2018, 08:26 AM
Will do more to tackle hate speech in Myanmar: Zuckerberg
Will do more to tackle hate speech in Myanmar: Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday promised to do more to tackle hate speech in Myanmar, as he was grilled during a US Congressional hearing about his organisation's alleged role in spreading hate content against Rohingya Muslims.

"What's happening in Myanmar is a terrible tragedy, and we need to do more...," he told the US lawmakers when Senator Patrick Leahy asked him about Facebook's role as a breeding ground for hate speech against Rohingyas.

Zuckerberg was testifying before the US Congress amid a firestorm over the alleged hijacking of data of millions of Facebook users by British firm Cambridge Analytica.

"Recently, UN investigators blamed Facebook for playing a role in inciting possible genocide in Myanmar," Leahy said, as he cited the tragic death of a Muslim journalist.

"You say you use (AI) Artificial Intelligence to find this. This is the type of content I'm referring to. It calls for the death of a Muslim journalist. Now, that threat went straight through your detection systems, it spread very quickly, and then it took attempt after attempt after attempt, and the involvement of civil society groups, to get you to remove it," the Senator said.

Zuckerberg replied that Facebook was working on it, citing various steps in vogue to tackle hate speech in Myanmar.

"One is we're hiring dozens of more Burmese-language content reviewers, because hate speech is very language-specific. It's hard to do it without people who speak the local language, and we need to ramp up our effort there dramatically.

"Second we're working with civil society in Myanmar to identify specific hate figures so we can take down their accounts, rather than specific pieces of content. Third we're standing up a product team to do specific product changes in Myanmar and other countries that may have similar issues in the future to prevent this from happening," he said. 

First Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 08:21 AM
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