Rohingya refugees sue Facebook, alleging role in violence. Rohingya refugees have sued Facebook parent Meta Platforms for more than $150 billion over what they say was the company’s failure to stop hateful posts that incited violence against them by Myanmar’s military rulers and their supporters.

Lawyers filed a class-action lawsuit Monday in California, saying Facebook’s arrival in Myanmar helped spread hate speech, misinformation and incitement to violence that “amounted to a substantial cause, and eventual perpetuation of, the Rohingya genocide.”

Lawyers in Britain have issued notice of their intention to file similar legal action. Facebook, which was recently renamed Meta, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

It’s the latest in a series of accusations against the social media giant that it fueled misinformation and political violence, outlined in redacted internal documents obtained by a consortium of news organizations.

The combined legal claims from Rohingya refugees are being filed on behalf of anyone worldwide who survived the violence or had a relative who died from it.

The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic group forced to flee persecution and violence in Myanmar starting in 2017, with an estimated 1 million living in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh. Some 10,000 have ended up in the United States.

In 2018, United Nations human rights experts investigating attacks against the Rohingya said Facebook had played a role in spreading hate speech.

More than 10,000 Rohingya have been killed and more than 150,000 were subject to physical violence, according to the law firms organizing the cases.

The lawsuits say that Facebook’s algorithms amplified hate speech against the Rohingya people and that it failed to hire enough moderators and fact-checkers who spoke the local languages or understood the political situation.

They also say Facebook failed to shut accounts and pages or take down posts inciting violence or using hate speech directed at the ethnic group.

Facebook arrived in Myanmar in 2011 as millions of residents gained access to the internet for the first time, according to the lawsuit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court. But, the lawsuit says, the company did little to warn people about the dangers of online misinformation and fake accounts — tactics employed by the military in its campaign against the Rohingya.

The lawsuit says Facebook knew that rewarding users for posting dangerous content and allowing fake accounts created by autocrats to flourish would radicalize users.

“The resulting Facebook-fueled anti-Rohingya sentiment motivated and enabled the military government of Myanmar to engage in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya,” the lawsuit says.

Eight years ago, a team of researchers launched a project to carefully repeat early but influential lab experiments in cancer research.

They re-created 50 experiments, the type of preliminary research with mice and test tubes that sets the stage for new cancer drugs. The disappointing results were reported Tuesday: About half the scientific claims didn’t hold up.

“The truth is we fool ourselves. Most of what we claim is novel or significant is no such thing,” said Dr. Vinay Prasad, a cancer doctor and researcher at UC San Francisco, who was not involved in the project.

It’s a pillar of science that the strongest findings come from experiments that can be repeated with similar results.

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In reality, there’s little incentive for researchers to share methods and data so others can verify the work, said Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers lose prestige if their results don’t hold up to scrutiny, she said.

And there are built-in rewards for publishing discoveries.

But for cancer patients, it can raise false hopes to read headlines of a mouse study that seems to promise a cure “just around the corner,” Prasad said. “Progress in cancer is always slower than we hope.”

The new study reflects on shortcomings early in the scientific process, not with established treatments. By the time cancer drugs reach the market, they’ve been tested rigorously in large numbers of people to make sure they are safe and effective.

For the project, the researchers tried to repeat experiments from cancer biology papers published from 2010 to 2012 in major journals such as Cell, Science and Nature.

Overall, 54% of the original findings failed to measure up to statistical criteria set ahead of time by the Reproducibility Project, according to the team’s study published online Tuesday by eLife.

Among the studies that did not hold up was one that found certain gut bacteria were tied to colon cancer in humans. Another was for a type of drug that shrunk breast tumors in mice. A third was a mouse study of a potential prostate cancer drug.

A co-author of the prostate cancer study said the research done at Sanford Burnham Prebys research institute has held up to other scrutiny.

“There’s plenty of reproduction in the [scientific] literature of our results,” said Erkki Ruoslahti, who started a company now running human trials on the same compound for metastatic pancreatic cancer.

This is the second major analysis by the Reproducibility Project. In 2015, it found similar problems when it tried to repeat experiments in psychology.

Study co-author Brian Nosek of the Center for Open Science said it can be wasteful to plow ahead without first doing the work to repeat findings.

“We start a clinical trial, or we spin up a startup company, or we trumpet to the world, ‘We have a solution,’ before we’ve done the follow-on work to verify it,” Nosek said.

The researchers tried to minimize differences in how the cancer experiments were conducted. Often, they couldn’t get help from the scientists who did the original work when they had questions about which strain of mice to use or where to find specially engineered tumor cells.

“I wasn’t surprised, but it is concerning that about a third of scientists were not helpful, and, in some cases, were beyond not helpful,” said Michael Lauer, deputy director of extramural research at the National Institutes of Health.

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