Rohingya refugees sue Facebook $150B for permitting deadly misinformation campaigns in Myanmar

Originally published at: Rohingya refugees sue Facebook $150B for permitting deadly misinformation campaigns in Myanmar | Boing Boing


If you think American social media companies do a shit job policing dangerous misinformation on their platforms in the English-speaking world then just imagine how much worse it is everywhere else. Facebook sometimes doesn’t even have any moderators fluent in the dominant language of many countries their platform operates in.




I’m curious about how the US case will proceed as they are suing in US court but for redress under Burmese law. Some possible factors:

  • US Federal judge Victoria Chaney ruled against Unocal’s claim that the Yadana pipeline lawsuit could be carried out inside Burma in the late 1990s. (This was the same strategy deployed by Texaco to have their toxic pollution case tried in Ecuador which totally backfired on now Chevron.) The ruling was based on the expert witness testimony that they had never known of a court decision that ruled against the government there.

  • Aung San Suu Kyi argued before the Hague that Myanmar’s own justice system would be sufficiently changed under her leadership to enable a just process for addressing the horrors that had been meted out against the Rohingya. That was really the crux of her statement - it was not totally defensive of all the acts that were known to have occurred.

  • Ironically, DASSK is now facing an unjust process under that same system.

  • I think it will be an important task for the attorneys, moving forward, to convey both the depth of FB’s presence in Burma. It is/was a primary source for all information and propaganda - there is virtually zero reliance on google, yelp or independent websites. People who totally distrust the obvious government run media enterprises would be unable to detect those same enterprises acting through Facebook and leveraging the algorithms etc etc. So FB, for the military, was indeed a propaganda machine on steroids.

  • There may be thousands of humbled statements on social media now, in multiple languages, by people from Myanmar who describe what happened as “Brainwashing.” Rohingya advocates could put together a dossier on those.

  • The brainwashing was cloaked in numerous approaches from “fact based reporting” to cartoons reminiscent of antisemitism in 1930s Europe. This one was drawn up in both Burmese and English:

I hope the US case is deeply considered and not just tossed out as “not in jurisdiction.”


I strongly suspect this will form a large part of Facebook’s defence. They’ll argue something along the lines that they were expanding so fast that their moderation couldn’t keep up - but they recognise they made an error and are really sorry - so can all this go away?


Zuck just believes that genocidal propaganda is another form of freeze peach that will drive engagement and in turn raise ad revenues. He also thinks he’s too wealthy for this strategy to ever backfire on him.


In Facebook’s case it’s called the tier list.


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