Social media giant Facebook on Wednesday said that it had banned Myanmar’s military and military-controlled state and media entities from its platforms, weeks after the military overthrew the country’s fragile democratic government. The move plunged the social network directly into Myanmar’s post-coup politics — and left little question that it was picking sides in a pitched political battle. Also Read - Fact Check: Does Inhaling Camphor, Ajwain Increase Your Oxygen Levels? Here's The Truth
“Today, we are 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,” Facebook said Also Read - Instagram Testing 3 New 'Like' Options to Empower Users | Details
“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,” the social media giant added. Also Read - TikTok Most Downloaded Non-gaming App in March Globally, Followed by Facebook
Facebook acted after facing criticism for years over how Myanmar’s military has used the site, including to incite hatred against the country’s mostly Muslim Rohingya minority group.
“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,” Facebook said
Since the coup earlier this month, which ousted the civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and returned Myanmar to full military rule, the military has repeatedly shut off the internet and cut access to major social media sites, including Facebook.
In a statement released by the tech giant, Facebook informed that these bans will remain in effect indefinitely.
Here’s what Facebook said:
We’ve held the Tatmadaw to the same Community Standards as all of our users around the world and have removed content from military Pages and accounts that violated these policies. But we’ve reached this decision to ban them based on four guiding factors
Point 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.
Point 2: The Tatmadaw’s history of on-platform content and behavior violations that led to us repeatedly enforcing our policies to protect our community.
Point 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.
Point 4: The coup greatly increases the danger posed by the behaviors above, and the likelihood that online threats could lead to offline harm.
This action builds on the steps we have taken in recent years to prevent the Tatmadaw from abusing our platform. Among these 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.
Since the coup, we have disabled the Tatmadaw True News Information Team Page, and MRTV and MRTV Live Pages for continuing to violate our policies which prohibit coordinating harm and incitement to violence. We have also reduced the distribution of content on at least 23 pages and profiles controlled and/or operated by the Tatmadaw so fewer people see them.
This ban does not cover government ministries and agencies engaged in the provision of essential public services. This includes the Ministry of Health and Sport, and the Ministry of Education.
We are continuing to monitor the situation and will take additional measures if necessary to keep people safe.