Congress members call on Facebook to address ‘hate and violence targeting Muslims’

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By Muslim Mirror Staff

Washington DC/New Delhi: A group of 30 Democratic members of the US Congress has sent a letter to Facebook raising their concerns on the spread of anti-Muslim “bigotry” on the social media platform, which has often enabled “violence” against Muslims in several countries. The members called on the company to prioritise eradication of anti-Muslim “bias”.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who led the effort, said that the platform has been used to elevate hate against Muslims, in some cases leading to violence and death, such as in the Christchurch shootings in New Zealand as well as in Myanmar where Facebook was used to incite violence against Rohingya Muslims.

“In many of these instances, pages, events and other content are reported to Facebook but face delayed response times or are ignored,” it said.

Steps needed to eradicate anti-Muslim genocide

The letter has mentioned several demands for Facebook, including creating a working group that addresses anti-Muslim bigotry and hate groups and committing to a third-party review of Facebook’s role in enabling “anti-Muslim violence, genocide and internment”.

It also calls on the company to train staff on civil rights issues and how to determine hate content towards Muslims.

“Thus far, Facebook has appeared to lack the will necessary to effectively address hate and violence targeting Muslims,” the letter said.

Media reports have documented the failure of Facebook to prevent the spread of hate messages on the platform, which have often led to the eruption of anti-Muslim violence, particularly in Myanmar, New Zealand and India.

Facebook has been accused of softening its policies in connection with India’s hate groups such as Bajrang Dal in order to protect its business interests. A recent report by The Wall Street Journal said that Facebook India refused to classify Bajrang Dal as a “dangerous organisation” on the platform, saying it could spark “physical attacks” against the company’s staff and harm their business prospects.

Reports surfaced in 2018 showing that top Myanmar military officials had been using the social media platform to incite “ethnic cleansing” against the Rohingya Muslim population. Facebook admitted in November 2018 that it failed to prevent its platform from being used to incite violence in Myanmar.

In 2019, the gunman who killed 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand had broadcasted his mass shooting on Facebook Live for 17 minutes before it was stopped by the platform.

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