Facebook says sorry for its anti-Muslim role in 2018 SL riots

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Colombo: Facebook (FB) has apologised for its role in the deadly communal unrest that shook Sri Lanka two years ago after an investigation found that hate speech and rumours spread from FB platform may have led to violence against Muslims, Khaleej Times has reported.

The investigation was carried out by Article One, which is a specialized ethics and human rights consulting firm. It worked in collaboration with FB for two years and published a report.

In its assessment report, Article One says that FB has, “brought the world closer together . . . at the same time the platform has been misused by bad actors to infringe on human rights. This includes using the platform to amplify hate speech, spread misinformation and disinformation, target and harass vulnerable groups, and infringe on the right to privacy . . . these rumors fanned existing ethno-religious tensions and may have contributed to offline violence against Muslims.”

In response to the assessment report FB apologized and issued a statement to Bloomberg saying, “We deplore this misuse of our platform. We recognize, and apologize for the very real human rights impacts that resulted.”

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Facebook’s failure to remove hate speech and disinformation during the 2018 riots resulted in inciting the deadly violence in Sri Lanka in which at least three people were killed and 20 injured. Mosques and Muslim businesses were burnt by majority Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists.

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