Iraq Yazidis want Big Tech held to account for Islamic State crimes

[Published here on February 17, 2022]

BEIRUT, Feb 17 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Wahhab Hassoo’s family had to pay $80,000 to buy the release of his niece from the Islamic State (IS) militants who abducted her in 2014, and then offered her “for sale” in a WhatsApp group.

Now, Hassoo’s family and dozens of others from Iraq’s minority Yazidi community want social media companies to be held to account, accusing them of having facilitated the trafficking of Yazidi women and girls by the jihadists.

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LGBT+ conversion therapy: banned on Facebook, but thriving in Arabic

[Produced alongside Thomson Reuters Foundation’s digital correspondent Avi Asher-Schapiro and published here on June 3, 2021]

When he was growing up in a small Egyptian town outside Cairo, Omar began feeling sexually attracted to other men. Too afraid to talk to family or friends, he turned to Facebook for help, shielding his identity with a false name.

Scouring social media for information and advice is a common recourse for young men and women who think they may be gay and live in socially conservative Arab societies.

But it can lead them to therapists, spiritual leaders and influencers promising to “cure the affliction” of homosexuality through so-called conversion therapy – practices that aim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

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