Facebook Must Answer to Rohingya Youth, for Human Rights Abuses; OECD Complaint Urgent, Brave and Groundbreaking: “Facebook Knew”

December 9th — The Real Facebook Oversight Board today issued the following statement on the filing of a complaint against Facebook to Ireland’s Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) by a group of 16 Rohingya youth, students, and advocates in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh:

Across virtually every issue of global importance, from racial justice to climate change to human rights, Facebook follows the same pattern: Meet with civil society activists, delay, deny and ultimately respond with PR spin, not action.

It was especially troubling to read today’s complaint filed by Rohingya youth, who describe “more than a year of tense discussions with Facebook Human Rights Director Miranda Sissons and the rejection of a modest request” for educational programs, to mitigate a small part of the damage caused by Facebook in the region.

The youth activists urgent, brave and groundbreaking complaint — filed on the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide — is a step towards justice and acccountability for Facebook’s deeply damaging and immoral conduct in the region.

As the complaint notes, the Facebook papers have brought to light the extent to which Facebook knew it was being used to incite violence against minorities like the Rohingya, and that their systems were removing less than 1% of violent content.

Facebook knew. And they owe the Rohingya recompense and justice.

Facebook has continued to deny any responsibility. But now that the truth is out, the 16 Rohingya have asked that Facebook provide a remedy for the human rights violations committed against us, in which it was complicit. “The remedy we ask for is for Facebook to fund education activities in the camp, so that Rohingya children and young people can look forward to a brighter future.”

The complaint calls out Facebook for once again failing to uphold international human rights standards and the UN Guiding Principles for Human Rights, which says that businesses that contribute to human rights violations must commit to providing victims with a remedy.

We call on the OECD to act swiftly and decisively, to meet the young people’s requests. We call out the Facebook Oversight Board for yet again failing to act. And we call for real, independent oversight of Facebook, which is complicit in ethnic violence but instead of accepting responsibility, chose to gaslight and stall young activists for more than a year.

Statements do not reflect the individual positions of all Real Facebook Oversight Board Members. Contact us at media@the-citizens.com. For more information visit Victim Advocates International.

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Real Facebook Oversight Board

Real Facebook Oversight Board

An emergency response to the ongoing harms on Facebook’s platforms from leading global scholars, experts and advocates.