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Myanmar English pronunciation below ; Burmese: Myanmar is bordered by India and Bangladesh to its west, Thailand and Laos to its east and China to its north and northeast. The country's census counted the population to be 51 million people. Its capital city is Naypyidaw , and its largest city and former capital is Yangon Rangoon. The Pagan Kingdom fell due to the Mongol invasions and several warring states emerged. In the 16th century, reunified by the Taungoo dynasty , the country was for a brief period the largest empire in the history of Mainland Southeast Asia.
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City Mart Chinatown Point. Created by. Authorities were fearful that the violence would spread to other towns that had seen outbreaks of religious violence the previous year. The mayhem did not spread, but during the multi-day melee in Mandalay two men—one Muslim and one Buddhist—were killed and around 20 others were injured.
The unrest was the latest in a string of flare-ups, often violent, between minority Muslims and Buddhists in the majority-Buddhist country of around 51 million since restrictions on free speech and the internet were steadily loosened starting in Waves of violence broke out in the western Rakhine state in between Muslims and Buddhists, leaving nearly dead and displaced some ,, mainly Rohingya Muslims and reverberated across the country in the months and years that followed.
A firefighter sprays a smoldering building in the wake of clashes between Buddhists and Muslims that left at least 20 people dead in a the central Myanmar town of Meikhtila in On the line was Zaw Htay, a senior official in the office of President Thein Sein, a retired general who until a few years earlier had served as the fourth most powerful figure in the junta and a loyal comrade to dictator Than Shwe.
His term ended in March Protesters hold placards and chant during a demonstration against Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as she attends an event at the Guildhall in the City of London on May 8, Zaw Htay, who now serves at the spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi's government, confirmed the phone call took place.
He eventually fell asleep. The decision was the right one, he says, because it put a stop to the clashes. When Tun awoke the next morning, he had five or six emails from Facebook officials concerned over the site being unreachable, he says. Five people, including a woman who admitted she was paid to make the false rape claim, were eventually sentenced to 21 years in prison for their roles in starting the riots.
A panel discussion had been hastily arranged after the riots with the help of Tun, Zaw Htay, and others. The participants included representatives from Google, the Asia Foundation, and the government, but most in the audience had come to hear—and demand answers—from Mia Garlick.
Garlick also explained how content was reviewed after it was flagged by users who found it to be offensive, though it was unclear how many people fluent in Burmese language were doing this work.
The Burmese language community standards promised by Garlick, however, would not launch until September , 14 months after she spoke in Yangon. And even now, nearly four years later, Facebook will not reveal exactly how many Burmese speakers are evaluating content that has been flagged as possibly violating its standards.
Facebook also had at least two direct warnings before the riots that hate speech was exploding on the platform and could have real-world consequences. Aela Callan, a foreign correspondent on a fellowship from Stanford University, met with Elliot Schrage, vice president of global communications for Facebook, in November to discuss hate speech and fake user pages that were pervasive in Myanmar.
At the time, the company had just one Burmese speaker based in Dublin, Ireland, to review Burmese language content flagged as problematic, Callan was told. A spokeswoman for Facebook would say only that the content review team has included Burmese language reviewers since Myanmar was a small but unique market for the company, and Facebook has taken a multi-faceted approach in recent years to better serve users, Garlick says.
All of these reflect a decidedly ad-hoc approach for a multi-billion-dollar tech giant that controls so much of popular discourse in the country and across the world.
In April, Zuckerberg testified before Congress over two days on a myriad of problems within his company, from Russian agents using the platform to influence the US elections to a lack of data protections. He told Congress in written testimony that he is "responsible for" not preventing the social media platform from being used for harm, including fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech.
The scale of this problem was significant and it was already apparent. Myanmar had been ruled since by successive military regimes that drove the country into political isolation, crippled the economy , oppressed ethnic minorities , and repeatedly put down popular uprisings with deadly force. Aung San Suu Kyi, the wildly popular opposition leader held by the military under house arrest for some 15 years, was barred from participating.
Members of her party, the National League for Democracy, boycotted the vote, in which the majority of seats were won by a military backed party. Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from house arrest six days after ballots were cast. Thein Sein was sworn in as president of Myanmar in March for a five-year term. The bespectacled, subdued leader surprised observers by embracing a number of reforms—quickly suspending an unpopular Chinese-backed dam project and, in , dropping heavy-handed censorship of the press.
The last of the sanctions were lifted by the fall of , though one former general has been since been sanctioned for his alleged role in the violence against the Rohingya. Under that regime, internet connectivity was severely limited and frustratingly slow.
This slowly began to change, and in , mostly in major cities like Yangon and Mandalay, SIM card prices fell to hundreds of dollars from over a thousand, making them slightly more accessible though still out of reach to most. As internet connectivity expanded, so did social media.
He served more than eight years of his year sentence, passing the time by speaking to spiders and other insects that crawled through his cell. Upon his release, he noticed two things—the heavier traffic choking the streets of Yangon and the widespread usage of mobile phones.
When Telenor and Ooredoo launched operations in , people queued for hours for SIM cards that cost around a dollar. Mobile shops appeared seemingly overnight hawking cheap Chinese smartphones.
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