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Amnesty International Says Facebook Should Pay Reparations to Rohingya Refugees

Amnesty International Says Facebook Should Pay Reparations to Rohingya Refugees

In a recent report, Amnesty International said that Facebook’s parent company Meta should be held responsible for the displacement of the Rohingya people, who were driven out of western Myanmar in 2017. Facebook has been widely criticized for its role in enabling the Myanmar government’s ethnic cleansing program, and Amnesty International’s report says the social media platform’s “dangerous algorithms and reckless pursuit of profit… substantially contributed to the atrocities perpetrated by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya people in 2017.”

More than 700,000 Rohingya civilians were driven across the border into Bangladesh by the Myanmar military in the summer of 2017. The Diplomat writes that during this time “hundreds of villages were burned to the ground, civilians were shot, and hundreds, possibly thousands, of women and girls were raped.”

Facebook’s role in amplifying hate speech against the Rohingya has been investigated by the United Nations and the New York Times, both of whom released damning reports. The U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar found that Facebook’s role had been a “determining” one in the conflict, and that the company’s apathy towards enforcing its own rules against hate speech had “substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict.”

The New York Times investigation was even more chilling, which found that in the hands of the Myanmar military, Facebook “a tool for ethnic cleansing.”

In 2018, Facebook admitted its wrongdoing, releasing its own internal investigation which found that “we weren’t doing enough to help prevent our platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence. We agree that we can and should do more.”

“Meta must be held to account,” Amnesty’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard said in a new statement. “The company now has responsibility to provide reparations to all those who suffered the violent consequences of their reckless actions.”

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