Why are Rohingya suing Facebook for $150 billion?

Rohingya refugees sue Facebook for $150 billion over Myanmar violence (1)

Rohingya refugees have sued Facebook’s parent company, Meta in a recent rebranding. And Rohingya sues for more than $150 billion for failing to stop the hateful publication of inciting violence against the Muslim ethnic group by Myanmar’s military rulers and their supporters.

On Monday the US class-action lawsuit was filed in California by law firms Edelson PC and Fields PLLC. The lawsuit essentially alleges that the company’s failures with police content and platform design contributed to the real-life violence faced by the Rohingya community. Also, in a coordinated action, British lawyers also sent notices to Facebook’s London office.

According to Reuters, Facebook did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit. The company said it was “too slow to prevent misinformation and hatred in Myanmar”. And said it had since taken steps to curb abuse of the platform in the region, including post-war bans on Facebook and Instagram from January to February.

3 years back in 2018, UN human rights experts said while investigating ‘the attacks on the Rohingya’ that the company played a role in spreading the hate speeches.

According to the law firm, more than 10,000 Rohingya have been killed & more than 150,000 subjected to physical violence.

The lawsuit alleges that Facebook’s algorithms amplify hate speech against the Rohingya. How? According to the lawsuit it did not spend enough money to hire talents like moderators and fact-checkers. They could have spoken the local language or understood the political situation. It could have helped the company to prevent the situation.

They also said Facebook failed to shut down the accounts and pages, even they failed to remove posts that incited violence or used ethnic hate speech.

Facebook arrived in Myanmar in 2011, putting millions of people on the Internet for the first time, according to a lawsuit filed in California’s San Mateo County Supreme Court. Although, the lawsuit states that Facebook did little to warn people about the dangers of online disinformation and fake accounts.

The International Criminal Court tries crimes in the region. In September, a US federal judge ordered the social media giant Facebook to post records of Rohingya violence in Myanmar, which the company has shut down.

The new class action alleges that Facebook whistleblower Francis Haugen, who leaked cash from internal documents earlier this year, said the company had failed to control abusive content in countries where such speech would likely cause the greatest harm.

As per The Hindu, The complaint also cites recent media reports. Including a Reuters report last month that Myanmar’s military used fake social media accounts to participate in so-called military “information battles”.