The collective complaint filed Monday in San Francisco accuses the social network of having allowed hate messages targeting this ethnic minority to spread on its platform.
Rohingya refugees lodged a complaint Monday, December 6 against Facebook and demanded 150 billion dollars in compensation from the social network they accuse of having allowed hate messages targeting this ethnic minority to spread on its platform. The lawsuit filed in a court in California, where Facebook is headquartered, claims algorithms used by the tech giant have fostered disinformation and extremist ideologies that have resulted in violent acts in the real world. “Facebook is like a robot programmed with a single mission: to develop”, write the complainants. “The undeniable reality is that the growth of Facebook, fueled by hatred, division and misinformation, has left in its wake hundreds of thousands of Rohingya lives devastated.”, continues the document consulted by AFP.
Most of the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority, took refuge in Bangladesh from 2017 after fleeing a violent campaign of repression in Burma, a predominantly Buddhist country where they are considered illegal even though they have often been there since. generations. Refusing to return to Burma until they are guaranteed security and equal rights, the refugees live in makeshift huts and unsanitary conditions. Many Rohingya who remained in Burma do not enjoy citizenship there and face community violence and discrimination from the ruling junta.
The collective complaint filed on Monday in San Francisco claims that Facebook’s algorithms are pushing certain user profiles towards even more extremist groups than they already are, an ideal situation for “Autocratic rulers and regimes”. Human rights organizations have long criticized Facebook for not being sufficiently involved in the fight against disinformation and false information. Some critics claim that even when the platform is alerted to hateful content, it does not act, which they say leads to persecution of minorities and can even affect the outcome of some elections.
Frances Haugen, a whistleblower who slammed the door on Facebook last May and denounces the practices of her former employer, told Congress that the network, whose parent company was recently renamed Meta, was stoking the “Ethnic violence” in some countries. Under US law, Facebook is unlikely to be held responsible for messages posted by its users. To get around this legal pitfall, the Rohingya complaint highlights the fact that Burmese law, which offers no such protection, should take precedence. Contacted by AFP, Facebook had not reacted Monday evening to the announcement of this complaint.