Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey criticised for ‘tone deaf’ Myanmar tweets

Twitter CEO Jack DorseyImage copyright

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Jack Dorsey said he had travelled to Myanmar for a meditation retreat last month

Twitter’s chief executive has been criticised for promoting Myanmar as a tourist destination despite widespread allegations of human rights abuses in the country.

In a series of tweets, Jack Dorsey said he had travelled to northern Myanmar last month for a meditation retreat.

“The people are full of joy and the food is amazing,” he said, before encouraging his 4m followers to visit.

But some accused him of ignoring the plight of the Muslim Rohingya minority.

Last year, Myanmar’s military launched a violent crackdown after Rohingya militants carried out attacks on several police posts.

Thousands of people have been killed, and human rights organisations say the army has burned land and committed arbitrary killings and rape.

  • What you need to know about the crisis
  • How a ‘genocide’ was investigated
  • What will happen next after damning UN report?

“Writing what is effectively a free tourism advert for them at this time is reprehensible,” one Twitter user wrote in response to Mr Dorsey’s tweets.

“The tone-deafness here is… wow,” another user said.

“This is an extremely irresponsible recommendation,” one response reads. “Does he pay no attention to the news and the outcry on his own platform?”

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The military crackdown sparked an exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya who have since fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape the violence and the destruction of their homes.

The UN has described the operation as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and says senior Myanmar officials should be investigated and tried for genocide.

The army has previously cleared itself of all wrongdoing and rejects the UN’s allegations.

Mohammed Jamjoom, a correspondent for Al Jazeera who has interviewed Rohingya refugees, said he was left “utterly speechless” by Mr Dorsey’s tweets.

Image Copyright @MIJamjoom

Twitter post by @MIJamjoom: I’ve interviewed dozens of #Rohingya #refugees who shared horrific details of atrocities committed against them by #Myanmar’s military.   It was only in Oct that the head of a UN fact finding mission said genocide was ongoing in #Rakhine. This thread left me utterly speechless. Image Copyright @MIJamjoom

Others pointed to the role social media platforms, such as the one Mr Dorsey heads up, have played in the Rohingya crisis.

Last month, Facebook said it agreed with a report that found it failed to prevent its platform from being used to “incite offline violence” in Myanmar.

“Social media [is] amplifying the genocide and meanwhile, Jack Dorsey proudly tweets about the amazing silent retreat he did,” one tweet reads.

“While you were meditating in Myanmar, any revelations on how you’re going to stop their [government] and supporters from using your platform?” another user wrote.

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Mr Dorsey has not responded to the criticism, but earlier said he would track the responses to his tweets.