Thu 25 February 2021:
Facebook on Thursday announced that it was banning Myanmar military junta from its Facebook and Instagram platforms. The decision has come as there is no let-up in anti-coup protests and military’s brutal crackdown against the protesters. Myanmar military removed civilian government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup on February 1.
“Events since the February 1 coup, including deadly violence, have precipitated a need for this ban,” Facebook said in a blog post.
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“We believe the risks of allowing the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) on Facebook and Instagram are too great.”
The U.S tech giant said it would also ban all “Tadmadaw-linked commercial entities” from advertising on its platforms.
It said the decision to ban the Myanmar army came due to “exceptionally severe human rights abuses and the clear risk of future military-initiated violence in Myanmar”, as well as the army’s repeated history of violating Facebook’s rules, including since the coup.
There was no immediate reaction from Myanmar military.
People in Myanmar have come out to protest every day soon after the coup. The military has chosen to take a hard stance and has begun a crackdown.
At least three protesters and one policeman have been killed in violence at rallies.
Facebook is widely used in Myanmar and has been one of the ways the junta has communicated with people, despite an official move to ban on the platform in the early days of the coup.
Facebook in recent years has engaged with civil rights activists and democratic political parties in Myanmar and pushed back against the military after facing international criticism for failing to contain online hate campaigns.
In 2018, it banned army chief Min Aung Hlaing – now the military ruler – and 19 other senior officers and organisations, and took down hundreds of pages and accounts run by military members for coordinated inauthentic behaviour.
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