Monday, 5 December, 2022
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‘Meta must pay’

Facebook algorithms fuelled anti-Rohingya atrocities, says AI

‘Meta must pay’

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Amnesty International has slammed Facebook owner Meta for its failure to curb hate speech on its social media platform that eventually fuelled a storm of hatred against the Rohingya Muslims over the years, reports UNB.

Alleging in its report that Facebook’s algorithms proactively amplified anti-Rohingya content five years ago, Amnesty has sought compensation for the victims from Meta.

In the report, ‘The Social Atrocity Meta and the right to remedy for the Rohingya’, released on Thursday, the global NGO claimed that Facebook’s algorithmic systems were supercharging the spread of harmful anti-Rohingya content in Myanmar, but the company still failed to act.

“In 2017, the Rohingya were killed, tortured, raped, and displaced in the thousands as part of the Myanmar security forces’ campaign of ethnic cleansing, said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty's secretary general.

In the months and years leading up to the atrocities, Facebook’s algorithms were intensifying a storm of hatred against the Rohingya which contributed to real-world violence, he added.

While the Myanmar military was committing crimes against humanity against the Rohingya, Meta was profiting from the echo chamber of hatred created by its hate-spiralling algorithms, Callamard said.

Meta must be held to account. The company now has responsibility to provide reparations to all those who suffered the violent consequences of their reckless actions, he stressed.

Sawyeddollah, a 21-year-old Rohingya refugee, told Amnesty International “I saw a lot of horrible things on Facebook. And I just thought that the people who posted that were bad… Then I realised that it is not only these people – the posters – but Facebook is also responsible. Facebook is helping them by not taking care of their platform.”

In 2017, the Rohingya Muslims were forced to leave their country and take refuge in Bangladesh after facing the most heinous ethnic cleansing campaign by the Myanmar Army.   More than 730,000 Rohingya eventually fled their home country and took shelter in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation deal on November 23, 2017.

On January 16, 2018, Bangladesh and Myanmar inked a document on 'physical arrangement', which was supposed to facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland.