Girls who’ve expressed views on social media opposing navy rule in Myanmar are being subjected to abuse, together with calls for his or her arrest and threats of violence, rape and dying by pro-military online users, a research has discovered.
Myanmar Witness, an organisation that led the research, mentioned social media platforms corresponding to Telegram and Fb weren’t doing sufficient to sort out on-line abuse or weren’t responding shortly sufficient to requests to take away abusive customers and content material.
Politically motivated abuse in opposition to ladies from and in Myanmar elevated at the very least fivefold within the aftermath of the military’s seizure of power in February 2021, based on the research, and the prevalence of abusive posts focusing on ladies was 500 occasions larger on Telegram in contrast with different worldwide social media corporations.
“The overwhelming majority of abusive posts were authored by male-presenting profiles supportive of Myanmar’s military coup and targeted women who opposed the coup,” Myanmar Witness mentioned in the report launched on Wednesday.
“Online abuse and doxxing attacks are having a silencing effect and causing women to retreat from public life,” the report mentioned.
“Survivors report attacks on their views, person and dignity, and threats of rape, death and violence with severe emotional and psychological impacts,” it mentioned.
“Doxxing” – the discharge of individuals’s non-public particulars on-line with out their consent, corresponding to their residence tackle, contact particulars and private photographs – was the primary type of abuse discovered within the research, which concerned 1.6 million Telegram posts in addition to case research and interviews with these focused by politically motivated abuse on-line.
The ladies subjected to doxing appeared to have been singled out for having commented positively on teams in Myanmar that oppose navy rule, such because the shadow Nationwide Unity Authorities, which incorporates former democratically elected legislators, and the Individuals’s Defence Pressure (PDF), which has taken up arms to combat navy rule.
In keeping with the research, “28% of all doxxing posts analysed in the qualitative study include an explicit call for the targeted women to be punished offline.”
“Almost all of these called on Myanmar military authorities to arrest the targeted woman and/or seize her property,” it mentioned.
Coordinated behaviour was noticed by these behind the campaigns of abuse “through the frequent sharing and mutual amplification of doxxing posts” in addition to alerting authorities and celebrating the arrests of the ladies focused, based on the research.
Girls have been additionally subjected to sexualised disinformation campaigns the place pro-military social media customers depicted their targets as “morally corrupt”, “racially impure”, “promiscuous” and “sexual prey for PDF and ethnic armed organisation (EAO) leaders and foreigners”.
“Dehumanising sexualised language and imagery mirrors tactics known to have been used by the Myanmar military to dehumanise the Rohingya population,” the report mentioned.
What the report uncovered was seemingly the “tip of the iceberg”, the organisation mentioned, noting that the dimensions and severity of abuse focusing on ladies on-line was seemingly a lot bigger because the research was primarily based solely on publicly accessible social media posts. Posts shared in closed social media teams couldn’t be assessed, and Fb’s information entry coverage doesn’t permit for large-scale quantitative evaluation.
“Without full access to platform data it is impossible to accurately assess the true scale or prevalence of abuse,” the research mentioned. “This is particularly relevant for Myanmar’s most widely used social media platform, Facebook.”
The report’s authors mentioned social media platforms have to be extra accountable, ought to work with ladies’s rights organisations in Myanmar and dedicate extra assets to monitoring the native language content material they host.
Platforms must also make information accessible to these affected by on-line abuse to allow them to monitor such content material and the “effectiveness of countermeasures” taken by social media companies, the authors wrote. Social media corporations additionally want to enhance their response occasions when abuse and threats are reported and should shortly take away abusive accounts when threatening exercise is flagged, the Myanmar Witness mentioned.
In an replace added to the report, the organisation mentioned Telegram and Meta appeared to have eliminated “the majority of abusive posts and channels identified during this investigation” as of Wednesday.