Facebook has been outed in the US for its dishonorable practices, but what it’s done in this country is nothing compared to the damage it has caused in other parts of the world. One the places where it has helped to create a perfect storm of violence by radicalizing users against the minority Rohingya is the country of Myanmar. The platform spread information and hate speech that cost the lives of a targeted group of people. In 2018, Facebook essentially admitted to its role in the attacks carried out against the Muslim minority.
Meta (Facebook) is now facing class action lawsuits in the US and the UK for its part in amplifying the violence in Myanmar. The total damages being sought by the plaintiffs are > $150 billion.
“To maximise engagement, Facebook does not merely fill users’ News Feeds with disproportionate amounts of hate speech and misinformation; it employs a system of social rewards that manipulates and trains users to create such content,” the plaintiffs wrote in the complaint.
“At the core of this complaint is the realisation that Facebook was willing to trade the lives of the Rohingya people for better market penetration in a small country in Southeast Asia.”
Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool and, in the hands of bad actors, can be a weapon against human flourishing. Too often, Facebook has refused to accept their power and chased profits over safety. Punitive monetary damages will send a message in a language that the company can understand.
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