Twitter CEO Knocked For Promoting Myanmar Meditation Retreat
/ CBS San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF / CBS News) -- Extolling the virtues of Myanmar as a travel destination while bypassing the plight of a minority group persecuted by the Southeast Asian nation's government is not going over well for CEO Jack Dorsey of San Francisco-based Twitter.
The tech mogul spent part of his weekend posting tweets encouraging his 4.1 million Twitter followers to visit Myanmar, praising its landscape, food and people while bypassing any mention of violence directed at its Rohingya Muslim population, nearly a million of whom have fled to neighboring Bangladesh.
Dorsey quickly found himself under fire for his promotion of the country that four months ago had the United Nations calling for an investigation and prosecution of Myanmar's military leaders on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The allegations include raping women and killing children.
"Ah yes, Myanmar, the state that waged genocide against the Rochingya Muslins, covered it up, and imprisoned two journalists who exposed it to the world. Verily a future vacation spot," one person tweeted in response.
The U.S. has imposed sanctions on three of the country's military leaders and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in August called the military's actions "abhorrent ethnic cleansing," and said the U.S. would hold those responsible accountable
Dorsey's tweets also drew a rebuke from Andrew Stroehlein, European media director for Human Rights Watch, who posted: "I'm no expert on meditation, but is it supposed to make you so self-obsessed that you forget to mention you're in a country where the military has committed mass killings & mass rape, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee, in one of today's biggest humanitarian disasters?"
The Myanmar military, which maintains it has only been responding to security threats by militants, reportedly used social media to target the Rohingya for ethnic cleansing. Facebook last month conceded it had not stopped its platform for being used to "foment division and incite online violence" in Myanmar.
After his trip tweets, Dorsey said he would be happy to answer questions about his time in Myanmar, but as of early Monday in California he not not responded to the criticism.
A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.
However, a person familiar with Dorsey defended his trip as meaningful to the Twitter founder as it gave him the chance to "visit a place where some of those meditation practices began." The trip involved a personal holiday and Dorsey did not conduct any business while there, the person added.