Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are suing Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. for Myanmar violence over allegations that the social media giant’s failed to remove the inflammatory posts against the persecuted community. They are demanding more than $150bn in compensation, claiming that the platform’s algorithms amplified hate speech and the platform and exacerbated violence .
A U.S. class-action complaint, filed in California on Monday by law firms Edelson PC and Fields PLLC, argues that the company’s failures to police content and its platform’s design contributed to real-world violence faced by the Rohingya community, Reuters reported. In the legal complaint,the lawyers accused the company of “willing to trade the lives of the Rohingya people for better market penetration in a small country in Southeast Asia.”
“The undeniable reality is that Facebook’s growth, fueled by hate, division, and misinformation, has left hundreds of thousands of devastated Rohingya lives in its wake,” the court document states. In a coordinated action, British lawyers also submitted a letter of notice to Facebook’s London office.
In 2018, Facebook had admitted that it had not done enough to prevent the incitement of violence and hate speech against the Rohingya. The California head-quartered company has over 2 crore users in Myanmar. For many, the social media site is their main or only way of getting and sharing news.
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The Rohingya exodus began on 25 August 2017 after Rohingya Arsa militants launched deadly attacks on more than 30 police posts. At least 6,700 Rohingya, including at least 730 children under the age of five, were killed in the month after the violence broke out, according to medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Amnesty International says the Myanmar military also raped and abused Rohingya women and girls.