Business & Economy

Rohingya sue Facebook for $ 150 billion over hate speech

Bangkok, Dec 7 (EFE).- Rohingya refugees sued Facebook in the United States and the United Kingdom for $ 150,000 million for having encouraged hate speech on its platform in Myanmar.

In the United States, the lawsuit filed in a San Francisco court seeks multimillion-dollar damages from Meta, Facebook’s parent company, as compensation for the violence and persecution suffered by the Rohingya.

The San Francisco malpractice complaint has been filed by Edelson and Fields Law on behalf of anonymous plaintiff Jane Doe, representing Rohingya refugees, while the lawsuit was brought by McCue’s attorneys Jury & Partners in the UK representing a score of Rohingya whistleblowers.

“While the Rohingya have long been victims of discrimination and persecution, the scope and violence of the persecution has changed in the last decade, from sporadic violence and human rights abuses to terrorism and mass genocide,” read the Edelson and Fields Law lawsuit to which EFE had access.

US lawyers said Facebook’s introduction in Myanmar in 2011 encouraged “the dissemination of hateful messages, disinformation and incitement to violence,” which they said led to the “Genocide of the Rohingya.”

The plaintiffs refer to military operations in 2016 and 2017 that caused at least 10,000 deaths and the exodus of more than 800,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh, where they remain overcrowded in the world’s largest refugee camps.

The Myanmar military have been charged with alleged crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Court and for alleged genocide before the International Court of Justice, both tribunals in The Hague.

After conducting an internal investigation, Facebook, which recently changed the parent company name to Meta, acknowledged in 2018 that it had not done enough to curb hate messages in Myanmar and pledged to make changes and hire more translators.

Since then, the Silicon Valley giant, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, established agreements with the media and agencies to combat hoaxes and misinformation on its social platforms.

However, plaintiffs in the US and UK accuse it of acting late, despite NGO and media warnings, to limit hateful messages against the Rohingya.

“Despite Facebook’s acknowledgment of guilt and its statements about its role in the world, it has not paid a penny of compensation or any other form of reparation or support to any survivor,” McCue Jury said in a letter quoted by British newspaper “The Guardian.”

Lawyers of Edelson and Fields Law said disinformation through Facebook continues “to this day” in Myanmar, which has been ruled by a military junta since the Feb. 1 coup.

“At the core of this lawsuit is the realization that Facebook was willing to trade Rohingya lives to penetrate the market of a small country in Southeast Asia,” the legal document filed in San Francisco said. EFE


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