Facebook and WhatsApp activated mobs resulting in murders and ethnic violence

Increased social media anti-refugee activity was correlated to increased anti-refugee crime.

A research paper “Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime” identifies the link between social media and hate crime in Germany.

There is linkage between social media and hate crime. In Germany, the recently emerged right-wing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has developed a major social media presence. Right-wing anti-refugee sentiment on Facebook predicts violent crimes against refugees in otherwise similar municipalities with higher social media usage. To further establish causality, we exploit exogenous variation in major internet and Facebook outages, which fully undo the correlation between social media and hate crime. We further find that the effect decreases with distracting news events; increases with user network interactions; and does not hold for posts unrelated to refugees. Our results suggest that social media can act as a propagation mechanism between online hate speech and real-life violent crime.

Myanmar violence and Facebook

Reuters found more than 1,000 examples of posts, comments and pornographic images attacking the Rohingya and other Muslims on Facebook. A secretive operation set up by the social media giant to combat the hate speech is failing to end the problem.

Some 700,000 members of the Rohingya community had recently fled the country amid a military crackdown and ethnic violence.

Facebook was used make accusations of rape and other crimes against those in the Rohingya community which caused mobs to attack them. This was used as justification for the military to crack down and chase out the Rohinga in Myanmar.

Whatsapp used in India

In India, false rumors about child kidnappers went viral on WhatsApp, prompting fearful mobs to kill two dozen innocent people since April.