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Facebook forms team to monitor use in Myanmar ahead of election


Facebook has formed a team to monitor the use of the social media in Myanmar, especially with the upcoming 2020 general elections, a spokesperson for the US-based social media and technology company said.

“We also know that we must protect people from those who attempt to spread hate and misinformation,” she told the Myanmar Times. “That’s why we’re committed to keeping the platform safe not only during Myanmar’s 2020 election, but all year-round.”

Facebook is the undisputed king of social media in Myanmar and political analysts believe it will play a big role in the upcoming elections.

The Warsaw-based Napoleoncat website, a marketing and analytics platform, has an even higher estimate. It said more than 22 million people are using the Facebook in Myanmar. This number is huge compared to 7 million users before 2015 election.

All believed that political parties and individuals would use Facebook in election campaigns more than other traditional “offline” methods such as door-to-door campaigns.

Some legislators are concerned about the use of social media to spread hate speech and fake news. Sai Ngaung Sai Hein, Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) representative for Kyaukme Township in Shan State urged the Union

Election Commission to prepare for problems that could arise from social media political campaigns.

“The 2020 election is fast approaching,” he said. “Many said it will be a fight on Facebook.”

Since 2014, Myanmar telecom sector has grown with foreign telecom firms operating in the country.

According to statements from the four telecommunications service providers, there are 62 million SIM cards being used in Myanmar. This number is more than the 54 million population of the country, probably because some people are using two or more SIM cards.

Facebook Company once said that they are arranging courses for the people involved in 2020 election with the aim of using the Facebook securely, in coordination with the UEC and other institutions.

Nay Phone Lat, a Yangon regional legislator and a blogger, said that before 2015 election, people used the Facebook to spread the hate speech and create the conflicts. However, in the upcoming election he believes that the candidates will use the Facebook wisely and effectively.

Source: Myanmar Times

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