Rohingya refugees recently filed a class-action lawsuit against Meta, the parent company of Facebook, alleging that the social media company has assisted in perpetrating genocidal violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar.
The Washington Post reports that “Facebook failed to quickly stop the spread of hate speech and misinformation against the Rohingya people, in turn contributing to the persecution and alleged genocide of the minority community in Myanmar, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in a California court that asks for more than $150 billion in compensation.”
“The class-action lawsuit against Meta, Facebook’s parent company, was brought by a Rohingya woman in Illinois on behalf of the 10,000-plus Rohingya refugees who have resettled in the United States since 2012. It alleges that Facebook’s algorithm amplified hate speech and that it neglected to remove inflammatory content despite repeated warnings that such posts could foment ethnic violence.”
At least 1,000 Rohingya refugees have settled in the Chicago area. The Rohingya Culture Center of Chicago provides important resources for the Rohingya refugee community in Illinois. The Center’s website describes the plight of Rohingya refugees: “The United Nations lists the Rohingya Muslims of northwestern Burma (Myanmar) among the most persecuted people in the world. Burma’s 1982 Citizenship Law denied the ethnic minority Muslim group legal status, rendering them stateless, and denying them the right education, work, and travel. Since then, many of the Rohingya have been displaced by ethnic violence and have been forced to flee the persecution.The Rohingya Cultural Center was established in 2016, in Chicago’s West Ridge/West Rogers Park neighborhood, to serve the needs of the growing Rohingya refugee community. As many as 1000 Rohingya have been resettled in the Chicago since 2010.”
Northern Illinois University students taking HIST 399 Communal Strife: Civil Wars in Comparative Perspective, HIST 384 History of War since 1500, and various courses in Southeast Asian History will be interested in tracking this lawsuit.
NIU’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies promotes research, teaching, and engagement in Southeast Asian studies and regularly offers lectures and workshops on Southeast Asian history and culture. Professors and graduate students affiliated with the Center continue to follow the political situation in Myanmar closely.
The Washington Post reports on the Rohingya lawsuit against Facebook.