Facebook has come under increasing pressure to restrict political content in the wake of a contentious election and violence at the Capitol in January. However, the social media giant’s actions abroad often don’t get the same attention. For example, the company acted quickly this week to designate Myanmar a “Temporary High-Risk Location” following a military coup in the Asian nation. Facebook’s move gave it the broad ability to remove content that breaks its rules on violence, misinformation and hate speech.
Of course, another reason that Facebook may have acted so swiftly has to do with its checkered history in Myanmar. The company has been accused of doing nothing to stop hate speech and violence targeted at the country’s minority populations in the past. A UN report previously issued a devastating critique of Facebook’s actions in the country, calling the platform a “useful instrument for those seeking to spread hate,” adding that the “extent to which Facebook posts and messages have led to real-world discrimination must be independently and thoroughly investigated.”
Thankfully, Facebook has begun taking stronger actions against potentially dangerous content, both in the U.S. and around the world. However, in some cases, the effort might be too little, too late.
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