It has long been known that the ethnic violence in Myanmar, formerly Burma, was fueled by content on Facebook.

Already in 2018, Facebook admitted that its platform had been used to spread hateful propaganda in connection with the genocide and displacement of the Rohingya people, and that it had not done enough to stop it.

"Intensified the hate storm"

A new report now presents more details about this and according to Amnesty International, Facebook's algorithms contributed "significantly" to the abuses committed in the country.

In addition, Amnesty International believes that Facebook avoided acting despite knowing that the algorithms fueled the spread of harmful and hostile content.

- In 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya were killed, tortured, raped and displaced as part of the ethnic cleansing carried out by Myanmar's security forces.

In the months and years leading up to the atrocities, Facebook's algorithms helped intensify the storm of hatred against the Rohingya people, said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Radical nationalists

The report highlights how posts from actors linked to Myanmar's military and radical Buddhist nationalists filled the platform with anti-Muslim content.

Among other things, the Rohingya people were portrayed as "invaders" and it was claimed that the country was facing a "Muslim takeover".

Even people within the military's direct leadership have shared posts calling for violence and discrimination.

General Min Aung Hlaing - the same man who in 2021 took power over the country in a coup - wrote on his Facebook page in 2017: "We openly declare that our country, clearly, has no ethnic group called Rohingya".

Legal proceedings

Currently, there are several lawsuits dealing with the actions of Meta (Facebook's owner) in Myanmar.

Among other things, civil legal cases are ongoing against the company in both the UK and the USA.

According to Amnesty, Meta did not want to answer any questions about the company's business operations in Myanmar in the period before 2017, citing that it is "currently involved in legal proceedings concerning related matters".

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Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya were forced to flee Myanmar.

See when SVT's team visited a refugee camp in Bangladesh in 2017.

Photo: SVT