Meta refuses to suspend Facebook account of former Cambodia PM Hun Sen

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Facebook parent company Meta rejected the recommendation from its Oversight Board that the former Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen’s Facebook account be suspended for violating the policy of incitement. In a video from January, Sen allegedly threatened violence against his political opponents in violation of Facebook community standards. Meta’s final decision in the matter was: After assessing Hun-Sen’s Facebook page and Instagram account, Meta determined that suspending these accounts outside of our regular enforcement framework wouldn’t be consistent with Meta’s policies, including its protocol for restricting accounts during civil unrest. In accordance with our policies, we have applied the appropriate account-level sanctions associated with this action. We removed the content at the center of the case. There is not currently any basis to suspend Hun Sen’s account under our policies.

In June, the Oversight Board–which is funded by Meta but operates independently–overturned Meta’s decision to leave up a video on Facebook in which Sen threatened his political opponents with violence. The Oversight Board at the time recommended that Facebook suspend Sen’s account for six month. Meta then removed the video in response to the board’s recommendation and announced it would review the remaining recommendations. Sen, who was threatened by the board and the possible suspension of his account on Facebook, quit the platform. He also proposed a ban for the entire country. The Crisis Policy Protocol evaluates the risks of harm that could occur on and off platforms to determine if conditions in Cambodia constitute a crisis. Meta stated that the decision was made in accordance with the public figure speech guidelines that were adopted after it suspended the account of former US president Donald Trump. The National Election Committee (NEC), which invalidated nearly half a million ballots, announced the final results on August 5. The results were a landslide win for Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party. As opposition leaders were banned from running in the elections, there was controversy surrounding these elections. As a protest against the disqualification by the Candlelight Party, there were campaigns urging voters not to vote at all and to declare the election null.