Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is coming under fire from users of his company’s social media platform after he published several tweets promoting Myanmar as a tourist destination despite allegations of genocide and human rights abuses in the Southeast Asian country.
“Myanmar is an absolutely beautiful country. The people are full of joy and the food is amazing,” Dorsey wrote in one of a series of tweets in which he said he travelled to northern Myanmar last month for a silent meditation retreat.
“We also meditated in a cave in Mandalay one evening. In the first 10 minutes I got bit 117 times by mosquitoes,” he said in another tweet, which many said was tone-deaf in light of the presumed deaths of tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims in a military crackdown that began in late 2017.
Twitter users took Dorsey to task for talking up his meditation retreat and essentially giving Myanmar free advertising whilst ignoring the plight of the Rohingyas.
“I mean, why let a genocide get in the way of a wonderful holiday,” wrote one Twitter user.
“The 2018 scriptwriters really went overboard on the episode where Jack Dorsey goes to the country with the ongoing genocide, only to sit cross legged with his eyes closed and focus on his own breathing for a week,” wrote another.
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Others said that Dorsey’s ringing endorsement of Myanmar as a tourist destination was all the more galling given the government’s use of social media to push anti-Rohingya messaging that has fuelled the killings.
“The CEO of Twitter went on vacation to a country that committed a genocide last year that was fueled by disinformation and hate spread by the government on social media” New York Times reporter Liam Stack tweeted.
“Myanmar? As in ‘the recent site of widespread anti-Muslim violence fueled by social media?’ Myanmar? Neat vacation, my dude. Finger on the pulse of the world,” said another user.
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United Nations investigators have accused the Myanmar military of committing widespread killings, rape and arson with “genocidal intent,” with the conflict spewing a refugee crisis that has seen nearly a million Rohingya flee to Bangladesh alone.
Myanmar has denied the accusations and said its actions in the country were part of a battle against Islamist terrorism.
Dorsey has yet to respond to the criticism of his tweets.