U.S. federal court recognized lawful disclosure of closed Facebook accounts that called for violence in Myanmar. Social networking executives cited that making such information public violated privacy laws in the United States. The accounts are likely to be used in the Gambia’s International Court of Justice against Myanmar over the Rohingya genocide.
A court criticized Facebook for refusing to turn over information to countries that are pursuing a case against Myanmar, exacerbating the situation of the Rohingya in the country. Blocking account data removes the opportunity to understand how misinformation gave rise to genocide, Justice Zia Farooqi wrote. She thinks Facebook’s stance on protecting personal privacy seems ironic.
The court found that the deleted information was not legally protected. The company will be able to appeal the court’s decision to the district court.
A Facebook spokeswoman stressed that the company is concerned about the Rohingya situation and is willing to assist justice for international crimes.
Gambia sued Myanmar at the International Court of Justice in 2019, accusing it of violating the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Earlier, the organization’s investigators found that 10, 000 Rohingya were killed and 700, 000 were forced to flee the country because of the Myanmar army’s actions. Facebook has been criticized for failing to stop the spread of posts against Myanmar Muslims, which has gained widespread support among the Buddhist population.
Facebook then blocked the accounts of the commander-in-chief of Myanmar’s armed forces and 20 other individuals and organizations suspected of spreading misinformation about the Muslim takeover in the country. The company also promised to hire more Burmese-speaking moderators.
According to report company, about 20 million people in Myanmar out of 53 million in 2018 used Facebook.
There was a military coup in Myanmar earlier this year, and the new government blocked access to Facebook. Telenor notes that without access to the social network, protesters against the new regime will not be able to get information from the democratic organization Civil Disobedience Movement, which united 200, 000 people in the country.