US court orders Facebook to publish records of anti-Rohingya content
Federal Judge orders Facebook to publish records of accounts related to anti-Rohingya violence in Myanmar, closed by social media giants, to protect privacy as "sarcastic" I refused the claim.
According to a copy of the ruling, a Washington, DC judge yesterday criticized Facebook for failing to give information to investigators trying to prosecute the country for international crimes against the Muslim minority Rohingya.
Facebook refused to publish data, saying it violated US law prohibiting electronic communications services from disclosing user communications.
However, the judge said the deleted posts were not subject to the law and would "exacerbate the tragedy that struck the Rohingya" if the content was not shared.
"It's ironic that Facebook has taken up the mantle of privacy rights. The news site has an entire section dedicated to the terrible history of Facebook's privacy scandal," he writes.
A Facebook spokesperson said the company is considering a decision and has already made "voluntary and legal disclosure" to another UN agency, Myanmar's independent investigative mechanism.
More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar's Rakhine State in August 2017 after a military crackdown that refugees said included genocide and rape. Rights groups recorded the killings of civilians and the incinerator of the village.
Myanmar officials say they are fighting the rebellion and denying them to commit systematic atrocities.
Gambia has accused Myanmar of violating the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention and is seeking data as part of a proceeding against Myanmar being pursued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
In 2018, a UN human rights investigator said Facebook played an important role in spreading hate speech that fueled violence.
In yesterday's ruling, US judge Zia M Faruqui said Facebook took the first step by removing "content that fueled the genocide," but "stumbled" by not sharing it.
"The surgeon who removes the tumor doesn't just throw it in the trash. She wants a pathological report to identify the disease," he said.
"Keeping out the requested content will give up the opportunity to understand how disinformation created the Rohingya massacre and seize calculations at the ICJ."
Twitter's human rights adviser Shannon Raj Singh called the decision "instantaneous."
In a Twitter post, she said it was "one of the most important examples of the link between social media and the prevention and response of modern atrocities."