Facebook, amid accusations is it censoring conservative speech, now is being warned by the United Nations human rights chief that it could be dragged into war-crimes trials for abetting genocide if it doesn’t block hate speech in Burma.
Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, the first Muslim head of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, contends the social-media platform is being used to spread hate and misinformation that is fueling persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority, reports the Daily Caller.
“We felt early on very uncomfortable with what we were seeing in Myanmar (Burma), (but) in the early meetings that we had with Facebook, I didn’t think they were taking it seriously,” Zeid said Wednesday.
The Daily Caller noted Zeid is expected to step down from his position Friday.
“We’ve seen from the jurisprudence of the past that if you’ve enabled, you’ve abetted, you’ve been an accessory,” Zeid added.
He didn’t accuse Facebook of abetting any crimes but warned “they have to be sure that they know where they are and what side of the law they are on.”
The Associated Press reported Facebook banned 18 accounts and 52 Facebook pages on Monday that were said to inflame the ethnic and religious conflict in the country.
More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh amid charges that a genocide, which the government denies, is already underway.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., brought up the issue when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before a Senate committee in April.
“You know, six months ago, I asked your general counsel about Facebook’s role as a breeding ground for hate speech against Rohingya refugees. Recently, U.N. investigators blamed Facebook for playing a role in inciting possible genocide in Myanmar. And there has been genocide there,” Leahy said.
Zuckerberg replied that “what’s happening in Myanmar is a terrible tragedy, and we need to do more.”
Facebook has said it has a policy of removing content that could lead to violence, and Zuckerberg has promised to political leaders that his company will do more to keep hate speech off of the platform.
It’s Facebook’s concern about “fake news” and “hate speech” since the 2016 election that has been the catalyst for policy changes that conservatives charge has resulted in censorship.
As a Republican congressman recently put it in a hearing with social-media company executives, one man’s “fake news” is another man’s “gospel truth.”