On 8 June 2020, The Gambia has filed an application for discovery, with the US District Court for the District of Columbia, to compel Facebook to provide information related to personal Facebook accounts of Myanmar officials. The information sought is to be used in ‘an action brought by the Republic of The Gambia against the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, The Netherlands’ for the commission of the crime of genocide against the Rohingya people.

The application indicates that ‘statements on social media, including Facebook, made by officials and representatives of Myanmar hostile to the Rohingya, or encouraging violence against them, including but not limited to statements made by senior military officers directed at rank-and-file soldiers or armed civilians who carried out attacks against the Rohingya, may constitute evidence of genocidal intent necessary o support a finding of responsibility for genocide.’

‘Facebook is a dominant platform in Myanmar of disseminating anti-Rohingya hate speech and incitement to violence. Indeed, an independent report commissioned by Facebook found that the platform “is being used [in Myanmar] by bad actors to spread hate speech, incite violence, and coordinate harm.” Moreover, the UN Fact-Finding Mission concluded that such hate speech is directed against the Rohingya and is pervasive in Myanmar, and that “messages portraying Rohingya as violent, dishonest, anti-Bamar, anti-Buddhist, illegal immigrants and/or terrorists… are particularly widespread on social media.’

The application further states ‘Using the Facebook platform, the military has circulated discriminatory posts to generate fear, mistrust and hatred against Rohingya Muslims.’

Facebook now banned Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Amed Forced, and 19 other military individuals and organisations from its platform. The content has now been removed. However, has preserved the content of these pages and ‘should be available to properly constituted international and national judicial authorities for accountability purposes.’

You can find the court papers here: https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.dcd.218820/gov.uscourts.dcd.218820.1.1.pdf

Further on Facebook removing relevant content: http://about.fb.com/news/2018/08/removing-myanmar-officials/

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