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Facebook sued for $150bn by Rohingya over Myanmar hate speech

Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Facebook logo
Mark Zuckerberg in front of the Facebook logo (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Facebook has been sued for $150bn.
  • A group of Rohingya refugees claims the platform allowed hate speech against them to spread.
  • They say this contributed to the violence in the country that left thousands dead and many more displaced.

A group of Rohingya refugees has sued Facebook parent company, Meta, for $150bn over claims the platforms allowed hate speech against the group, contributing to genocide in Myanmar in 2017.

According to multiple reports, the group claims Facebook contributed to the 2017 genocide in the country. From The Times (opens in new tab):

Facebook contributed to the 2017 genocide of Rohingya Muslims by allowing hate speech against the persecuted minority to be propagated in Myanmar, according to a legal action launched this morning in Britain and the United States.Lawyers for victims of the genocide are demanding more than £150 billion in compensation in one the largest group claims for victims of a crime against humanity brought before a domestic court anywhere in the world.

According to the BBC a UK law firm has sent a letter to Facebook, and a class action lawsuit has been filed against the company in San Francisco. The complaint states:

Woven throughout the years of this horrific tragedy are two constants: (1) the enduring resilience of the Rohingya people and (2) the willingness of Defendant Meta to knowingly facilitate the spread of anti-Rohingya hate speech, misinformation, and the widespread incitement of violence against the Rohingya people.

It is estimated that 10,000 Rohingya Muslims were killed in the 2017 Myanmar genocide, and 70,000 more were displaced. The lawsuit claims Facebook allowed anti-Rohingya sentiment and propaganda to perpetuate on its platform:

The resulting Facebook-fueled anti-Rohingya sentiment motivated and enabled the military government of Myanmar to engage in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya. To justify and strengthen its hold on power, the government cast, by and through Facebook, the Rohingya as foreign invaders from which the military was protecting the Burmese people.

The suit says Facebook failed to take action and is still helping to propagate misinformation "to this day." As noted the prayers for relief seek "at least" $150bn in damages. The class represented is defined as "all Rohingya who left Burma (Myanmar) on or after June 1, 2012, and arrived in the United States under refugee status, or who sought asylum protection, and now reside in the United States."

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.