U.S. court compels Facebook to release records of anti-Rohingya content - report


FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

(Reuters) - 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, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The judge in Washingon, D.C, criticized Facebook for failing to hand over information to investigators seeking to prosecute the country for international crimes against the Muslim minority Rohingya, the outlet said.

Facebook had refused to release the data, saying it would violate a U.S. law that bars electronic communication services from disclosing users' communications.

But the judge said the posts, which were deleted, would not be covered under the law, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Reuters could not immediately access details of the ruling and Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gambia is seeking the records as part of a case against Myanmar it is pursuing at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, accusing Myanmar of violating the 1948 U.N. Convention on Genocide.

Myanmar authorities say they were battling an insurgency and deny carrying out systematic atrocities.

More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar's Rakhine state in August 2017 after a military crackdown that refugees said including mass killings and rape.

Rights groups documented killings of civilians and burning of villages.

Shannon Raj Singh, human rights counsel at Twitter, called the decision "momentous".

In a post on Twitter, she said it was "one of the foremost examples of the relevance of social media to modern atrocity prevention & response".

(Reporting by Poppy Elena McPherson; Editing by Martin Petty)

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