Rohingya Refugees Sue Facebook for Over $150 Billion

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar is suing Facebook for over $150 billion, alleging that the social media platform failed to act against hate speech that fueled real-world violence against the minority in the region.

“Facebook is like a robot programmed with a singular mission: to grow. And 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 lawsuit, filed in California superior court on Dec. 6, alleged.

The plaintiff will seek to apply Burmese law to the claims to circumvent the Communications Decency Act in the U.S. that legally protects tech companies from content posted by users.

The 71-page complaint cited an investigation by the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar that found that Facebook had a “determining role” in the genocide of Rohingya Muslims.

The complaint also cited “thousands” of anti-Rohingya Facebook posts such as those “likening the Rohingya to animals, calling for Rohingya to be killed, describing the Rohingya as foreign invaders, and falsely accusing Rohingya of heinous crimes.”

In 2018, Facebook — now Meta — admitted in a blog post that it did not do “enough to help prevent our platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence” following a report by independent non-profit organization Business for Social Responsibility.

However, the lawsuit criticized the blog post as an “underwhelming response” that “failed to capture… what it had had done and the role it played.”

The complaint is the second major lawsuit against the tech company since former Facebook employee Frances Haugen disclosed thousands of internal documents and testified to Congress.


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