Rohingya victims of Myanmar’s genocide in the UK and US are reportedly launching legal action against Facebook over its negligence towards hate speech.
Facebook faces compensation claims worth more than £150bn which claims the social media platform’s algorithms promoted and amplified incendiary posts against Rohingya muslims The Times first reported. The tech giant also failed to remove posts inciting violence and groups propagating hate speech against the religious minority.
According to The Times a complaint lodged earlier today in San Francisco said Facebook was “willing to trade the lives of the Rohingya people for better market penetration in a small country in south-east Asia.”
The filing added that there was “little for Facebook to gain” from its continued presence in the country whilst the consequences for the Rohingya people were dire. “In the face of this knowledge, and possessing the tools to stop it, it simply kept marching forward,” the complainants wrote.
In the UK, legal action against Facebook is being led by law firm McCue Jury & Partners. A letter submitted to Facebook’s London office earlier today ahead of a formal claim says clients suffered “serious violence, murder and/or other grave human rights abuses” conducted by the ruling regime in Myanmar and aided by the social media platform which launched in Myanmar in 2011.
“As has been widely recognised and reported, this campaign was fomented by extensive material published on and amplified by the Facebook platform,” says law firm McCue.
In 2022 the firm expects to lodge a claim in the high court, representing both Rohingya in the UK and refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Facebook admitted in 2018 that it had not done enough to prevent the incitement of violence and hate speech against the Rohingya, the Muslim minority in Myanmar. An independent report commissioned by the company found that “Facebook has become a means for those seeking to spread hate and cause harm, and posts have been linked to offline violence.”
An estimated 10,000 Rohingyas were killed in a campaign of genocidal violence perpetrated by Myanmar’s ruling regime and Buddhist majority.
Rohingyas were forced out of the country and now live in squalid conditions in the world’s largest refugee camp.
According to claims by whistleblower and ex-Facebook employee Frances Haugen the social media site continues to fan the flames of ethnic hatred around the world. She estimated that 87 per cent of spending is allocated towards moderating English language posts even though English speakers make up just nine per cent of users.
Facebook’s parent company Meta has not yet responded to City A.M.’s request for comment.