Social science trains its adherents to be cautious. The dictionary meaning of “to determine” is “to cause (something) to occur in a particular way or to have a particular nature.” We are very careful is ascribing causation, though it is of course of the greatest interest.
Lawyers are said to use word like surgeons use scalpels. But the lawyers sent out on Asian missions by the UN appear to use words like meat cleavers. How else could Mr Darusman, lawyer and former MP of the Golkar Party (Suharto), claim in the same statement that social media plays a determining role in the violence in Myanmar and that it made a substantial contribution?
Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, told reporters that social media had played a “determining role” in Myanmar.
“It has … substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict, if you will, within the public. Hate speech is certainly of course a part of that. As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media,” he said.
This highlights the need for good research on hate speech in Myanmar and elsewhere.