Rohingya sue Facebook for £ 150 billion over Myanmar genocide | Facebook
Facebook’s neglect facilitated the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar after algorithms on the social media network amplified hate speech and the platform failed to suppress the inflammatory posts, a lawsuit launched in the United States and United Kingdom.
The platform faces claims worth more than Â£ 150 billion as part of the coordinated move on both sides of the Atlantic.
A class action lawsuit filed with the San Francisco Northern District Court says Facebook was “ready to trade the lives of the Rohingya for better market penetration in a small country in Southeast Asia.”
He adds: âIn the end, Facebook had so little to gain from its continued presence in Burma, and the consequences for the Rohingya people could not have been more dire. Yet in the face of this knowledge and having the tools to stop it, he just kept moving forward. “
A letter submitted Monday by lawyers to Facebook’s UK office says clients and their families have been victims of “serious violence, murder and / or other serious human rights abuses” in connection with of a campaign of genocide led by the ruling regime and civilian extremists in Myanmar.
He adds that the social media platform, which launched in Myanmar in 2011 and quickly became ubiquitous, has made the process easier. British lawyers expect to file a lawsuit with the High Court, representing Rohingya in the UK and refugees in camps in Bangladesh, in the new year.
âAs has been widely recognized and reported, this campaign was instigated by important material published and amplified by the Facebook platform,â reads the letter from law firm McCue Jury & Partners.
Facebook admitted in 2018 that it had not done enough to prevent incitement to violence and hate speech against the Rohingya, Myanmar’s Muslim minority. An independent report commissioned by the company found that “Facebook has become a medium for those who seek to spread hatred and cause harm, and the posts have been linked to offline violence.”
McCue’s letter reads: âDespite Facebook’s acknowledgment of his guilt and his statements about his role in the world, there has not been a single penny of compensation, nor any other form of reparation or support, offered to a survivor. “
In the US and UK, allegations against Facebook include: Facebook’s algorithms have amplified hate speech against the Rohingya; it has not invested in local moderators and fact-checkers; it has failed to remove specific posts inciting violence against the Rohingya; and it did not close specific accounts or remove groups and pages that encouraged ethnic violence.
The US complaint cites Facebook posts in a Reuters report, including one in 2013 saying, âWe have to fight them like Hitler did with the Jews, fuck Kalars. [a derogatory term for Rohingya people]. Another article from 2018, showing a photograph of a boat loaded with Rohingya refugees, says, ‘Pour fuel and set on fire so that they can meet Allah faster.
The number of Rohingyas killed in 2017, during âdemining operationsâ by the Burmese army, is expected to exceed 10,000, according to the medical association MÃ©decins sans FrontiÃ¨res.
About 1 million Rohingya people live in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp in south-eastern Bangladesh, where McCue and Mishcon de Reya, who is also working on the UK case, plan to recruit more applicants.
The UK case has around 20 claimants so far, while in the US the class action lawsuit hopes to act on behalf of around 10,000 Rohingya in the country.
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen claimed the platform is fueling ethnic violence in countries like Ethiopia and not doing enough to stop it. She said 87% of spending on fighting disinformation on Facebook is on English content, while only 9% of users are English speakers.
Responding to Haugen’s revelations, Facebook said it had put in place a “comprehensive strategy” for countries at risk of conflict and violence, including the use of native speakers and third-party fact-checkers.
Facebook owner Meta has been approached for comment.