Almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled northern Rakhine state to Bangladesh since Myanmar launched a brutal crackdown on insurgents six months ago amid accounts of arson, murder and rape at the hands of soldiers and vigilante mobs in the mainly Buddhist country.
According to the Times, Marzuki Darusman, who oversees the human rights investigation into Myanmar for the United Nations, says "speech and incitement to violence on social media is rampant, particularly on Facebook", in the country.
Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was last week stripped of a prestigious human rights award by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, which accused her of doing little to halt the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.
He adds that it has "substantially contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict".
"Under the present conditions, returning to Myanmar will put the Rohingya population at risk of further crimes", he said.
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His remarks come a day after United Nations special rapporteur to Myanmar Yanghee Lee warned the violence against the Rohingya bears "the hallmarks of genocide".
She said accountability for the abuses in Rakhine should be "the focus of the worldwide community's efforts to bring long-lasting peace, stability and democratization to Myanmar".
"Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar", The Guardianquotedher as saying. "It was used to convey public messages but we know that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists ... are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of..." The fact-finding mission is investigating whether the violence in Myanmar falls under genocide. Last year, medical humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières said that at least 6,700 Rohingya were slain in Rakhine by "the most conservative estimations". It suspends and sometimes removes users who promote hate speech on the platform. "We take this incredibly seriously and have worked with experts in Myanmar for several years to develop safety resources and counter-speech campaigns", a spokesperson said.
The social network offered no immediate comment on the criticism yesterday, although in the past the company has said that it was working to remove hate speech in Myanmar and bar people who indulge in hate speech.
"We work with local communities and NGOs to increase awareness of our policies and reporting process, and are always looking for ways to improve people's experience on Facebook", the spokesperson said.