Facebook Bans Myanmar Military From Its Platforms

On Thursday Facebook said it had banned the Myanmar military from using its Facebook and Instagram platforms with immediate effect, as weeks of mass demonstrations continue in the Southeast Asian country after the military seized power.

“Events since the February 1 coup, including deadly violence, have precipitated a need for this ban,” Facebook said in a blog post. “We believe the risks of allowing the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) on Facebook and Instagram are too great.”

The army seized power this month after alleging fraud in a Nov. 8 election swept by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), detaining her and much of the party leadership. At least three protesters and one policeman have been killed in violence at rallies.

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.

The military government could not immediately be reached for comment. Facbook 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.