In a letter obtained by The New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg responded to a group of Myanmar activists who have criticized Facebook’s handling of material meant to incite violence in the country. But the groups continue to say Facebook isn’t doing enough.
Last week, Zuckerberg was interviewed by Vox’s Ezra Klein. During the interview, Zuckerberg was asked about violence in Myanmar, where investigators say Facebook drives hate speech against the minority Rohingya population. To illustrate Facebook’s work in the country, Zuckerberg described a situation where Facebook “systems” successfully flagged attempts to spread violence.
After the interview was published, Myanmar civil society groups released an open letteraddressed to Zuckerberg, which said the groups themselves uncovered the messages. The letter further criticized the CEO’s characterization of Facebook’s work in Myanmar, saying the events showed the company had “an over-reliance on third parties, a lack of a proper mechanism for emergency escalation, a reticence to engage local stakeholders around systemic solutions and a lack of transparency.”
Zuckerberg’s new response to the groups’ letter apologized for the slight and highlighted their “important role” in the country. He said Facebook was adding dozens of Burmese-language reviewers, and that the company was bringing on more people dedicated to Myanmar issues.
But the groups, in another response, immediately criticized Zuckerberg’s letter, saying it “doesn’t change our core belief that your proposed improvements are nowhere near enough to ensure that Myanmar users are provided with the same standards of care as users in the U.S. or Europe.”
“When things go wrong in Myanmar, the consequences can be really serious — potentially disastrous,” the groups write. “You have yourself publicly acknowledged the risk of the platform being abused towards real harm.”
Here is a copy of Mark Zuckerberg’s email response: