Rohingya: US court orders Facebook to release hate content records

A U.S. federal judge has ordered Facebook to release records of accounts connected to anti-Rohingya violence in Myanmar that the social media giant had shut down, Reuters reported.

The court rejected facebook’s argument about protecting privacy as “rich with irony”.

The judge criticized Facebook for failing to hand over information to investigators seeking to prosecute the country for genocidal crimes against the Muslim minority, the agency reported.

A Reuters investigation in found more than 1,000 examples of hate speech on Facebook, deeming Rohingya Muslims as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and urging they be shot or exterminated.

The crackdown by the army, during the rule of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government, displaced millions of Muslims, while the army killed and raped tens of thousands.

African nation Gambia wants the data for a case against Myanmar it is pursuing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing Myanmar of violating the 1948 U.N. Convention on Genocide.

In 2018, U.N. human rights investigators said Facebook had played a key role in spreading hate speech that fueled the violence.

Facebook said at the time it had been “too slow to prevent misinformation and hate” in Myanmar.

In Wednesday’s ruling, U.S. magistrate judge Zia M. Faruqui said Facebook had taken the first step by deleting “the content that fueled a genocide” but had “stumbled” by not sharing it.

“A surgeon that excises a tumour does not merely throw it in the trash. She seeks a pathology report to identify the disease,” he said.