Members of Myanmar’s Rohngya community, which accuses the company of negligently facilitating genocide, are suing Facebook for almost $200 billion dollars.
According to the suit the social media network’s algorithms amplified hate speech and inflammatory posts remained on the site.
Facebook arrived in Myanmar in 2011 gaining notoriety for its role in the persecution of the Muslim Rohingya people in largely Buddhist Myanmar which started with a military crackdown in October 2016. According to Medicins San Frontiéres at least 6700 Rohingya were killed in the period up to 2020 and more than 1 million have fled the country to refugee camps in Bangladesh.
“A key inflection point for that change was the introduction of Facebook into
Burma in 2011, which materially contributed to the development and widespread dissemination of anti-Rohingya hate speech, misinformation, and incitement of violence—which together amounted to a substantial cause, and perpetuation of, the eventual Rohingya genocide,” states the complaint.
The case of the Rohingya was further assisted by the recent emergence of whistle blowers from within Facebook.
“The issue of the Rohingya being targeted on Facebook was well known inside the company for years,” stated one former Facebook employee.
Facebook is claiming protection under the US Communications Decency Act which limits its liability for third party content and is being sued in the courts under Myanmar law. The company’s stock was unaffected by the news this Monday morning, rising more than 2%.