Hawzah News Agency (Naypyidaw, Maynamar) - United Nations authorities probing the likely state-sponsored genocide against the Rohingya have cited Facebook as a source of propaganda against the Muslim minority in the East Asian nation, where the social media site has become a common communications instrument.
"It is a violation of freedom of expression," complained a member of the Patriotic Myanmar Monks' Union, identified as Thuseitta in a Reuters report, which further noted that Facebook had branded him as a “hate figure” hours before he spoke to the British news agency.
"We will keep using Facebook with different names and accounts to tell the truth to people," added the radical monk.
According to the report, Myanmar's nationalist monks and activists -- who have emerged as politically influential in recent years -- have been sharing violent and angry rhetoric on Facebook against the Rohingya Muslims, regarded by many in the Buddhist-majority nation as illegal immigrants.
Another monk from the union, identified in the report as Pinnyawenta -- whose account was deactivated in May after repeatedly being asked by Facebook to remove some posts – conceded that he had registered again under a different name and would "continue to write about the truth" on the site.
Facebook has said the it was "investing more in the teams who are working on Myanmar" as it seeks to "understand and respond to Myanmar's unique technical challenges."
The US-based company said it had designated as "hate figures and organizations" a radical Buddhist group, Ma Ba Tha, and a number of prominent monks known for their hatred towards the Rohingya Muslims, blocking their access to the platform.
More than 700,000 members of the Muslim minority group have fled the state-sponsored violence to neighboring Bangladesh since the military launched a crackdown on the Rohingya last August. The UN has described the campaign as a textbook example of "ethnic cleansing," saying it possibly amounts to "genocide" as well.
According to the UN, few concrete details were decided in the newly-signed "framework" deal that took months to draft and aims to pave the way for voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees.
The UN agencies will initially conduct assessments in Rakhine state, which has been largely closed off to outsiders since the crackdown began.
Though the Muslim community has lived in Myanmar for generations, its members are denied citizenship.
Myanmar has also denied a UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission access to the country and barred the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, rejecting accusations of "ethnic cleansing" against the Rohingya Muslims.