back to article Facebook slapped with an eyepopping $150B lawsuit for spreading hate speech against Rohingya refugees

Meta was sued on Tuesday for a whopping $150 billion in a class-action lawsuit for allegedly amplifying hate speech and aiding the Myanmar military in the genocide of the Rohingya people. The case, led by an anonymous Rohingya refugee living in the US, accuses the entity formerly known as Facebook of inciting hatred and …

  1. Roland6 Silver badge

    It needs to be eyepopping

    I bet this has got Meta/Facebook senior management's attention.

    1. Insert sadsack pun here

      Re: It needs to be eyepopping

      It would be so just if Facebook lost and there was a massive transfer of wealth from a sociopathic billionaire to some of the most oppressed people on earth.

  2. Dinanziame Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Good luck to them, but do they have any chance of winning? Isn't Facebook protected by the same harbor laws?

    I suppose in practice, this will be settled with Facebook publicly declaring they'll create a $X0 millions fund to support Rohingya people and pay the lawyers' bill.

    1. a_yank_lurker

      You would have to read the suit to see what the basis for the claims.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      I think you mean safe harbour. But that wouldn't help here, because it's not about what gets posted but what the algorithm decides to show. Still, don't see the suit going far, not least because it's not about American citizens in America. And, even there, there's a distinct lack of retrospective class action suits.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anthony Irwin and the Chittagonian V Forces

    Absolutely wrong.

    ©2005 AYE CHAN SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 3, No. 2, Autumn 2005, ISSN 1479-8484

    The Development of a Muslim Enclave in Arakan (Rakhine) State of Burma (Myanmar)1

    Early history

    When King Min Saw Mon, the founder of Mrauk-U Dynasty (1430-1784) regained the throne with the military assistance of the Sultan of Bengal, after twenty-four years of exile in Bengal, his Bengali retinues were allowed to settle down in the outskirts of Mrauk-U, where they built the well-known Santikan mosque. These were the earliest Muslim settlers and their community in Arakan did not seem to be large in number. In the middle of the seventeenth century the Muslim community grew because of the assignment of Bengali slaves in variety of the workforces in the country. The Portuguese and Arakanese raids of Benga (Bengal) for captives and loot became a conventional practice of the kingdom since the early sixteenth century.

    British Empire

    When the British occupied Arakan, the country was a scarcely populated area. Formerly high-yield paddy fields of the fertile Kaladan and Lemro River Valleys germinated nothing but wild plants for many years (Charney 1999: 279). Thus, the British policy was to encourage the Bengali inhabitants from the adjacent areas to migrate into fertile valleys in Arakan as agriculturalists. As the British East India Company extended the administration of Bengal to Arakan, there was no international boundary between the two countries and no restriction was imposed on the emigration.

    In the WWI when the Brits were fighting Japan, the Muslims of Myanmar were fighting with the British. Antohny Irwin [Burmese Outpost] had this to say:

    It is these minorities that have most helped us in throughout the three years of constant fighting and occupation and it is these minorities who are most likely to be forgotten in the rush of Government. They must not be. It is the duty of all of us, for whom they fought, to see this

  4. Winkypop Silver badge

    Facebook and the Chinese regime

    Made for each other

  5. RobvS

    We see the hate speech and propaganda against the Rohingya people immediately pop up here too.

    Note these are the exact same arguments that have been levied against Roma, Jew, and Muslim people living in Europe, or any people with supposedly immigrant ancestors in any country on earth. That makes it so easy to spot.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      And where exactly is "here" ?

      1. Insert sadsack pun here

        "where exactly is "here" ?"

        Here, on this exact comments page on which you are commenting. As soon as Myanmar and Rohingya were mentioned, up popped someone spreading nonsense about Rohingya being non-citizen newcomers from India, and implying that it's all their fault for mixing with terrorists.

        1. very angry man


          i have just read through this comment thread and not found this at all?

          me thinks you are a bit sensitive and maybe need a ball of cotton wool to hide in.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Maybe you got here too late to read the "deleted by a moderator" post.

    2. Mooseman Silver badge

      Facebook are well-known for ignoring hate speech - recently I reported around half a dozen very blatant antisemitic posts which were all deemed not to break their community guidelines. If I call the poster an idiot I get a week's ban for bullying. There appears to be no way to complain to FB unless you go down the litigation route.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      >We see the hate speech and propaganda against the Rohingya people immediately pop up here too.

      I assume you are referring to the moderator removed comment.

      Whilst El Reg isn't operating on the same scale as FB, it does at least seem to do a reasonable job of content moderation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        El Reg vs Facebook - both are publishers but only El Reg behaves responsibly

        Exactly! The difference here is that El Reg largely speaking behaves as a publisher and Facebook believes in "free speech" as long as it increases its bottom line and doesn't require it to fact check or block any hate speech or other toxicity.

        The "social media" model is completely broken and cannot be fixed. Throwing more "AI" (nothing of the sort of course) or even more after the event humanoid moderators at it will not result in any perceptible improvement and FB, Twitter et al know full well that it won't but they like to pretend it will to get rid of bothersome objections of politicians.

        Ultimately the only way to stop the poison that FB thrives on is to strike out the laws that allow them to pretend that they aren't publishers and make them directly responsible for all comments posted on their platforms. This would of course result in their operations having to close down but so what? Nobody would die and the globe would keep on revolving without them.

        If a national newspaper were to allow anonymous posting of vile content via its letters page and not check this beforehand because (to use FB style excuses) "it would take too long and cost too much" then it would be closed down within the week and rightly so. Why is Facebook allowed to deliberately allow anonymous hate speech and other toxic content without meaningful punishment in return?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Man with bone to pick launches lawsuit for outrageous sum to garner attention to his people's plight."

    There. Fixed that headline for you.

    And their plight deserves attention; what is happening to them is an abomination every bit as outrageous as what has happened to the First Nations in Canada. :(

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      I'm glad you added your last paragraph, without it I would have down voted.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good Luck, but we all know who ever brings the largest bag of money to any court room is who wins.

  8. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Needed to be done

    I spent a reasonable amount of time in Myanmar over the last decade and the way things were stirred up using Facebook was truely disturbing

    These are people with so much pent-up anger they'll happily murder 15-20 schoolkids and trash a muslim neighbourhood because an eight year old girl supposedly disrespected a monk. It really doesn't take much to trigger a genocide

    And yes, the above happened - more than once

    1. adam 40 Silver badge

      Re: Needed to be done

      What has happened to Buddhism though, to get to this?

      I thought even killing a worm was forbidden.

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