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Should Promote Human Rights More In Myanmar: Facebook

Facebook has roughly 20 million users in Myanmar, according to BSR, which warned Facebook faces several unresolved challenges in Myanmar.

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A cellphone user looks at a Facebook page at a shop in Latha street, Yangon, Myanmar. VOA

Facebook on Monday said a human rights report it commissioned on its presence in Myanmar showed it had not done enough to prevent its social network from being used to incite violence.

The report by San Francisco-based nonprofit Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) recommended that Facebook more strictly enforce its content policies, increase engagement with both Myanmar officials and civil society groups and regularly release additional data about its progress in the country.

“The report concludes that, prior to this year, we weren’t doing enough to help prevent our platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence. We agree that we can and should do more,” Alex Warofka, a Facebook product policy manager, said in a blog post.

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A protester wearing a mask with the face of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in between men wearing angry face emoji masks, is seen during a demonstration against Facebook outside Portcullis in London. VOA

BSR also warned that Facebook must be prepared to handle a likely onslaught of misinformation during Myanmar’s 2020 elections, and new problems as use of its WhatsApp grows in Myanmar, according to the report, which Facebook released.

A Reuters special report in August found that Facebook failed to promptly heed numerous warnings from organizations in Myanmar about social media posts fueling attacks on minority groups such as the Rohingya.

In August 2017 the military led a crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents, pushing more than 700,000 Muslims to neighboring Bangladesh, according to U.N. agencies.

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A man from the Rohingya community fills out an identification form provided by local police inside his shop at a camp in New Delhi. VOA

 

The social media website in August removed several Myanmar military officials from the platform to prevent the spread of “hate and misinformation,” for the first time banning a country’s military or political leaders.

It also removed dozens of accounts for engaging in a campaign that “used seemingly independent news and opinion pages to covertly push the messages of the Myanmar military.”

The move came hours after United Nations investigators said the army carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent.”

Facebook said it has begun correcting shortcomings.

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A deforested section of the Chakmakul camp for Rohingya refugees clings to a hillside in southern Bangladesh, Feb. 13, 2018. VOA

Facebook said that it now has 99 Myanmar language specialists reviewing potentially questionable content. In addition, it has expanded use of automated tools to reduce distribution of violent and dehumanizing posts while they undergo review.

Also Read: Video: Orange Rallies in US Honor Victims of Gun Violence

In the third quarter, the company said it “took action” on about 64,000 pieces of content that violated its hate speech policies. About 63 percent were identified by automated software, up from 52 percent in the prior quarter.

Facebook has roughly 20 million users in Myanmar, according to BSR, which warned Facebook faces several unresolved challenges in Myanmar.

BSR said locating staff there, for example, could aid in Facebook’s understanding of how its services are used locally but said its workers could be targeted by the country’s military, which has been accused by the U.N. of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. (VOA)

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Facebook, T-Hub Pick 10 Indian Start-ups for Support Programme

The other start-ups that were shortlisted include Greenturn Idea Factory, Sensegrass, Marut Drones, Shortlist Professionals and Innerhouse

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FILE - The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

Social media giant Facebook and T-Hub, a Hyderabad-based global start-up catalyst, on Wednesday announced the 10 start-ups they have selected for the second edition of their “India Innovation Accelerator” programme.

Announced in May, the programme will support the growth of start-ups focused on finding solutions for social challenges using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in areas of good health and wellbeing, agriculture, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic opportunities, industry, innovation & infrastructure, climate change and peace and justice and strong institutions.

“At Facebook, we believe Artificial Intelligence will be key to finding disruptive solutions to address societal challenges like access, affordability, and skill shortage. We are excited to champion next generation of tech start-ups applying AI for social good and accelerate their development by giving them access to expertise,” Manish Chopra, Head and Director of Partnerships, Facebook India, said in a statement.

The 10 cohort start-ups include Mumbai-based ftcash which aims to empower micro-merchants and small businesses with the power of credit using digital payments.

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FILE – Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, United States. VOA

While another start-up, StaTwig, is building Blockchain based solutions to ensure that every child is vaccinated with high quality vaccines, Signzy has built a digital trust infrastructure which enables completely secure digital on-boarding using the AI assisted on-boarding (RealKYC), Algorithmic Risk Intelligence (ARI), and Blockchain technology to store and verify consumer information.

Blue Sky Analytics, a geospatial data intelligence start-up, and Pensieve that aims to democratise legal data and make it accessible to the common man were also selected.

Also Read: Google Closes its Controversial Chinese Search Engine Project

The other start-ups that were shortlisted include Greenturn Idea Factory, Sensegrass, Marut Drones, Shortlist Professionals and Innerhour.

The India Innovation Accelerator will support the growth of these start-ups in many ways. A panel of mentors, industry experts, investors, will provide hands on operational support and mentoring with specialised training on product development, marketing, partnerships, management. (IANS)