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Understanding the social and political contexts of Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar

Talking to Foreign Policy and taking Facebook to task...for their multiple failures and frankly, lack of planning to understand the social and political contexts of Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar(Burma)...



“Facebook has become a bit like an absentee landlord in Southeast Asia,” says Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division. “When Buddhist extremists start instigating action against Muslims [in Myanmar], looking around for the local Facebook representative is hopeless — there isn’t one. Instead, it’s sort of, complain into the void and hope some relief arrives before it’s too late — and that’s assuming you know a language that relevant Facebook staff are conversant in.”

But so far, the social network hasn’t lived up to its ideals, says Human Rights Watch’s Robertson. “They are going to need to build up their capacity to get further into the game, talking with all the stakeholders from civil society, business and government to ensure they know the political and social context and are prepared to respond in a substantive, rights respecting way.”

He adds: “People entrust their private and public lives to this platform — so decisions need to have customer buy-in, and communications need to reflect two-way dialogue."
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