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Facebook Bans Myanmar Military

Facebook Bans Myanmar Military

 

Facebook posted an update Wednesday on their current response to the Feb. 1 military coup in Myanmar that has continued to spark protests and violence in the country.

The social media company announced it is “banning the remaining Myanmar military (‘Tatmadaw’) and military-controlled state and media entities from Facebook and Instagram, as well as ads from military-linked commercial entities.”

The Facebook announcement states:

We’re continuing to treat the situation in Myanmar as an emergency and we remain focused on the safety of our community, and the people of Myanmar more broadly.

Events since the February 1 coup, including deadly violence, have precipitated a need for this ban. We believe the risks of allowing the Tatmadaw on Facebook and Instagram are too great.

We’re also prohibiting Tatmadaw-linked commercial entities from advertising on the platform. We are using the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar’s 2019 report, on the economic interests of the Tatmadaw, as the basis to guide these efforts, along with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These bans will remain in effect indefinitely.

Facebook adds that the company has required the Tatmadaw to adhere to the same Community Standards that it holds all users to around the globe, saying that it has “removed content from military Pages and accounts that violated these policies.” However, Facebook outlines the four reasons as to why they have decided to put an end to the Tatmadaw’s use of their services.

  1. The Tatmadaw’s history of exceptionally severe human rights abuses and the clear risk of future military-initiated violence in Myanmar, where the military is operating unchecked and with wide-ranging powers.
  2. The Tatmadaw’s history of on-platform content and behavior violations that led to us repeatedly enforcing our policies to protect our community.
  3. Ongoing violations by the military and military-linked accounts and Pages since the February 1 coup, including efforts to reconstitute networks of Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior that we previously removed, and content that violates our violence and incitement and coordinating harm policies, which we removed.
  4. The coup greatly increases the danger posed by the behaviors above, and the likelihood that online threats could lead to offline harm.  

Facebook added that, in the past, the company has acted to avert the military group from misusing the social media company. Included in these actions are “banning 20 military-linked individuals and organisations in 2018, including Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing, for their role in severe human rights violations; and removing at least six Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior networks run by the Tatmadaw from 2018 to 2020.”

As The Daily Wire reported last week, violence continued in Myanmar as at least two people were killed during protesting against the military takeover that occurred Feb. 1.

The Daily Wire reported:

Police reportedly confronted protesters and ship workers who were striking in the country’s second-largest city during a standoff that lasted hours. Some of the demonstrators were reported to have flung items at the police, who then tried to disperse the group. According to Reuters, “Police responded with tear gas and gunfire, and witnesses said they found the cartridges of both live rounds and rubber bullets on the ground.”

Ko Aung, a leader of the Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service, confirmed, “Twenty people were injured and two are dead.” 

Facebook made the point in its notice that the ban does not apply to “government ministries and agencies engaged in the provision of essential public services” and they will keep assessing the circumstances and take action if needed in order to keep the public out of danger.

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