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Morning Update: Facebook's Failures And The Horrors In Myanmar

Rejecting Amazon's call, John McCain's farewell letter, forcing Canada's hand. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, August 28.

Posted on August 28, 2018, at 7:13 a.m. ET

How Facebook failed the Rohingya in Myanmar

In 2017, state-led violence in Myanmar displaced 700,000 Rohingya Muslims. The long-persecuted minority group has faced unspeakable horrors.

Yesterday, a report from the UN described the situation as genocide and said top Myanmar military officials should be prosecuted.

The same report took aim at Facebook, calling the platform a “useful instrument for those seeking to spread hate.”

How is Facebook involved?

To understand this story, you first have to understand that the word “Facebook” has become synonymous with the internet itself in Myanmar.

With that in mind, a BuzzFeed News analysis reveals that politicians from one of Myanmar’s most successful political parties posted hateful anti-Muslim content, spread conspiracy theories, and explicitly called for violence against the Rohingya.

And all of that happened on Facebook. As the crisis in Myanmar worsened, our analysis shows, the company took no action for months.

This deep dive is well worth your time, to fully understand how the decisions that tech companies make can have grave real-world consequences.

People are sharing their stories of Catholic orphanages in response to a BuzzFeed News investigation

Yesterday, we published an explosive report about how some of the millions of American children who were placed in orphanages in the 20th century didn’t make it out alive. Our investigation shed light on the systematic abuse and even the alleged murder of children by nuns.

The response has been overwhelming. As people read the report, they began to share their family’s stories of orphanages in the US.

Some of the stories are haunting — “Only my grandpa came back out,” read one. “We don’t know what happened to my great-aunt.” And there are still thousands more to uncover.

The fallout:

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott responded to our report, saying he would support the efforts of victims who suffered abuse at a Catholic orphanage in the state.

In the opinion section, Paul Mones — who has spent years working with survivors of church abuse — argues that every state needs to set up a grand jury to investigate the Catholic Church.

SNAPSHOTS

More than 50 activists were arrested in police raids in China. The raids, which happened on Friday morning, are the latest episode in the government’s attempt to clamp down on growing labor unrest in southern China. The activists had been protesting for workers’ rights and were arrested when police stormed two separate apartments that they had been renting.

The US–Mexico trade deal puts pressure on Canada to come to terms. Donald Trump announced the new deal on Monday, and even put Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on speakerphone in front of reporters to congratulate him. There were some intensely awkward moments during the call. Trump asserts that the deal, which appeared to be less than a final document, will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. Both US and Mexican officials said they will try to persuade Canada to sign on to the document this week, and it would need congressional approval.

We’re tracking the rumors and hoaxes about the Jacksonville shooting. After the Sunday shooting at a video game tournament left two dead and 11 injured, coordinated hoaxes began to spread on social media. We’re keeping an eye on those.

Veterans groups expressed fury at Trump’s “blatant disrespect” for John McCain. The White House ordered its flag back to full staff after it flew at half staff for about a day after the senator’s death. The Pentagon’s flag was also returned to normal with defense officials saying they could not return it to half-staff unless the president issued a proclamation. The largest veterans group issued a rare expression of fury at the president. Shortly after that, the White House lowered its flag again, and Trump issued a proclamation declaring flags are to be flown at half-staff until McCain’s burial Saturday. The White House offered no explanation for the change.

John McCain urged Americans to come together in a farewell letter. His letter warned the public against political tribalism and said the country “will get through these challenging times.” “Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America,” McCain wrote. Read the whole thing here.

Clashes over ethics at major tech companies are causing problems for recruiters

What would you do if you got the call? From Amazon, or Facebook, or Salesforce?

Big tech companies are facing criticism from a new source — prospective hires.

Using the hashtag #TechWontBuildIt, tech workers are sharing how they’re rejecting interviews with giants like Amazon and Salesforce, either because they disagree with the company’s practices or don’t want to help build its products.

The larger context here is that trained programmers, software engineers, and data scientists are in famously high demand — and those workers are using their status to raise concerns about ethics in the tech industry.

Steph Curry wrote a powerful essay about women’s equality, the gender pay gap, and his daughters

In an essay written for the Players’ Tribune, the NBA star reflects on being the parent of two daughters and a son, writing that “women’s equality has become a little more personal for me lately.”

Curry writes, “I want our girls to grow up knowing that there are no boundaries that can be placed on their futures, period,” adding that he struggles to make sense of the fact that, because of his gender, his son “will probably have advantages in life” that his sisters won't.

Curry says “it’s important that we all come together” and “not just as fathers of daughters.”

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