(UTV|COLOMBO) – Facebook says it knew as early as 2018 that its platform was being used to incite division and violence.
Testifying at justice committee hearings into online hate, Kevin Chan, head of public policy for Facebook Canada, said the company realized long before this year’s Easter attack in Sri Lanka that Facebook was being used to amplify ethnic and religious tensions and took action.
Chan told the committee in 2018 Facebook commissioned a human rights impact assessment on the role of its services, which found that the company was not doing enough to help prevent the platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence.
Commenting on Sri Lanka Chan added “With regards to the tragedy in Sri Lanka, we know that the misuse and abuse of our platform may amplify underlying ethnic and religious tensions and contribute to offline harm in some parts of the world. This is especially true in countries like Sri Lanka, where many people are using the internet for the first time, and social media can be used to spread hate and fuel tension on the ground.” Chan said Facebook has set up a team to work on building “products, policies and programs” that take those kinds of situations into account.
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