Facebook and Fake News –
New Challenges in Myanmar
Sonny Swe is a pioneer in Myanmar media who in 2000 co-founded the Myanmar Times, a venture that led to an eight and a half year stint in prison during the dark days of military rule. The long period of detention did not deter him and soon after being released, Sonny re-entered the publishing world and is now the CEO and founder of Frontier Myanmar magazine, which has quickly gained a reputation for its tenacious and courageous reporting in a country where journalists continue to face regular threats to their safety and liberty. In recent years Myanmar has gone through dramatic change, with the 2015 landslide win of the first civilian government, at the same time as skyrocketing mobile penetration brought the world to a previously isolated nation.
In Myanmar, Facebook is the internet. It acts as a social media platform and search engine, as well as a news source. Sonny explored how, while Facebook cultivates a culture of transparency, it at the same time paves the way for the rise of misinformation, fake news and hate speech across the nation.
In this modern Myanmar, Sonny says, news publishers are being forced to face head-on with Facebook publishers who spread sensationalised news that goes viral in milliseconds – sometimes with devastating and deadly effect.
Speaker: Sonny Swe,Former Prisoner and Founder of Frontier Myanmar Magazine