Facebook regularly comes in for strong criticism, but the social media giant has rarely faced such stinging words from such a high authority as it did this week when representatives from the United Nations called the platform “a beast.” The comments came after a U.N. report concluded that Facebook is playing a “determining role” in spreading hatred and conflict in the country of Myanmar.
The situation in Myanmar has grown dire, with over 650,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing the country amid reports that they’re being attacked and killed by Myanmar security forces. And now the U.N. has essentially blamed Facebook for unwittingly helping to facilitate the attacks.
“[Social media] has… substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict, if you will, within the public. Hate speech is certainly of course a part of that. As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media,” U.N. official Marzuki Darusman said.
Another official went even further.
“I’m afraid that Facebook has now turned into a beast, and not what it originally intended,” U.N. investigator Yanghee Lee said.
For all its talk about taking steps to remove hate speech, it’s clear Facebook still has a very long way to go — especially if one of the most respected organizations in the world says so.