Judge: Facebook must release hate speech in Rohingya genocide investigation

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Washington DC court has ordered Facebook to share hate messages about Rohingyas from Myanmar with investigators. The information from the messages should help to prosecute Myanmar for international crimes against the Muslim minority.

In the ruling, the judge criticized Facebook for not providing the information. Facebook believes it cannot release users’ data because it would violate the law. According to Reuters, the judge dismisses this objection, calling Facebook’s privacy concerns “rich in irony,” referring to the tech company’s privacy scandals in recent years.

In a response to Reuters, Facebook said it would review the judge’s decision and that it had already voluntarily and lawfully released data for the investigation. The United Nations already sounded the alarm in 2018 because Facebook took too little action against hate speech on its platform in Myanmar.

More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar since 2017 after the country’s military hunted down the minority group. According to human rights groups, mass killings took place and entire villages were destroyed.

Facebook has often come under fire when it comes to tackling illegal and hate speech activities on its platform. Earlier this month, internal documents leaked that employees at Facebook are dissatisfied with how the company is dealing with human trafficking and drug cartels. Documents in the hands of The Wall Street Journal show that employees have sounded the alarm several times about illegal activities on Facebook and that little is done about it.

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