Judge ordered Facebook to release hate speech messages about Rohingyas

An American judge has ordered Facebook to share (now deleted) accounts and hate messages about the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority from Myanmar, with researchers. Facebook hasn’t wanted to do that until now.

The tech company was criticised by the judge for withholding information from investigators who want to prosecute Myanmar for international crimes against Rohingya’s, according to the ruling.

Facebook wouldn’t hand over the data. According to the company, this would violate a U.S. law that states that communications services may not disclose conversations of users. But the judge says that the messages, which were deleted by Facebook, are exempt.

“Not sharing the messages would only exacerbate the tragedy that has befallen the Rohingyas.”

The judge called protecting users ‘privacy” rich in irony”. “News sites have entire sections dedicated to Facebook’s sordid history of privacy scandals.”

A Facebook spokesperson tells that the company is reviewing its decision. It would also have already shared findings with another United Nations body investigating crimes in Myanmar.

In 2018, Human Rights researchers at the UN said that Facebook played a key role in spreading hate speech that fueled violence in Myanmar. Facebook said that the company is working to block these kinds of statements.

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