Ahead of Meta’s Annual Shareholder Meeting on Wednesday (31 May 2023), Pat de Brún, Head of Big Tech Accountability and Deputy Director of Amnesty Tech, said:
“It is way beyond time that Meta fulfilled its responsibilities and provided an effective remedy to the Rohingya people of Myanmar. It is reprehensible that Meta still refuses to repair the harms it contributed to despite the overwhelming evidence that the company played a key role in 2017’s ethnic cleansing.
“The Rohingya people were killed, tortured, raped, and displaced in their thousands as part of the Myanmar security forces’ campaign of ethnic cleansing. In the months and years leading up to the atrocities, Facebook’s algorithms were intensifying a storm of hatred against the Rohingya, which contributed to mass offline violence.
“Today, the vast majority of Rohingya survivors remain stranded in squalid refugee camps and internment camps under conditions of severe deprivation. Meanwhile, Meta continues to reap enormous profits from the same toxic business model that contributed to so much destruction for the Rohingya.
“Meta shareholders should utilise this shareholder meeting to demand that Meta’s leadership fulfils its responsibility under international human rights standards to provide reparations to the Rohingya.
“Meta shareholders should also insist that the company overhauls its overall approach to human rights, lest the company yet again be implicated in the recurrence of violence and atrocities elsewhere. As a first step, it should undertake a comprehensive review of human rights due diligence, including by mainstreaming human rights considerations throughout all its platforms’ operations, especially in relation to the development and deployment of its algorithmic systems.
“It is shameful that Meta’s board has recommended that shareholders reject proposals to improve human rights oversight and transparency in the company. We are calling on Meta shareholders to defy these recommendations and do their part to ensure the protection of individuals and communities across the world who remain at risk from Meta’s reckless business practices.”
Amnesty International is handing in a petition demanding Meta pays the Rohingya community reparations. The petition has been signed by thousands of Amnesty International members and supporters.
Meta’s annual shareholder meeting will take place on 31 May 2023. A number of shareholder resolutions have been filed, which challenge Meta’s business practices, including several seeking to enhance the company’s human rights oversight practices. One resolution calls for an independent human rights impact assessment on Meta’s use of targeted advertising and another resolution cites Meta’s failure to publish its human rights impact assessment on India.
In September 2022, Amnesty International found that Meta’s dangerous algorithms and reckless pursuit of profit substantially contributed to the atrocities perpetrated by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya people in 2017.
In November 2019, Amnesty International released a report outlining how the surveillance-based business model of Big Tech companies such as Meta is inherently incompatible with the right to privacy and poses a systemic threat to a range of rights including freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of thought, and the right to equality and non-discrimination.