Meta bans businesses run by Myanmar’s military from Facebook

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The company announced Wednesday that it would ban military-controlled businesses from Facebook, wiping out their pages, groups and accounts.

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The move expands existing restrictions on entities that were already barred from advertising on the platform in February.

That month, Facebook and Instagram also barred military-controlled state and media entities from using the applications after the armed forces took power in a coup, sparking widespread unrest.

The company said at the time that it “continues to treat the situation in Myanmar as an emergency.”


Just before the February restrictions were implemented, Facebook said it was working to “substantially reduce the distribution of all content” on pages and profiles run by the military – called Tatmadaw – that contain misinformation. were found to spread.

Criticism on Myanmar

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The company’s latest move comes as Facebook is facing criticism for failing to stop the spread of hate speech in Myanmar, where it has millions of users.

This week, meta ,American Plan, was sued for up to $150 billion for lack of action with respect to content that contributed to Violence against Rohingya Muslims in country.

Law firms in the United States and the United Kingdom launched a coordinated legal campaign over allegations that authorities were aware of anti-Rohingya posts, groups and accounts on the social network, and did little to curb them.

The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, numbering approximately one million. Myanmar does not count them as citizens, nor as one of the recognized ethnic groups in the country.

facebook first accepted That it had not done enough to prevent his platform from being used to promote bloodshed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised to increase moderation efforts.

In October, the company also said it had “hired more people with language, country and subject expertise” in countries like Myanmar over the past two years and added content moderators in 12 new languages ​​this year.

When asked about the trial, Raphael Frankel, the policy director for emerging economies in the Asia Pacific region on Facebook, said in a statement: “We are shocked by the crimes committed against the Rohingya people in Myanmar.”

“We have built a dedicated team of Burmese speakers, banned TatumDaw, disrupted networks that manipulate public debate, and cracked down on harmful misinformation to help keep people safe. It has also invested in Burmese language technology to reduce the spread of .

cracking down

According to Frankel, the new decision to crack down on military-run firms more forcefully was “based on extensive documentation by the international community of these businesses that had a direct role in financing the Tatmadaw’s ongoing violence and human rights abuses in Myanmar.”

Facebook bans accounts of Myanmar military for spreading 'misinformation'

In a blog post on Wednesday, he wrote that the company was “using the United Nations fact-finding mission on Myanmar’s 2019 report on the economic interests of the Tatmadaw, as a basis for guiding these efforts.”

Meta declined to comment on why this specific action was taking place two years after the report was released.

But in his online post, Frankl said that “the Myanmar military has far-reaching commercial interests that are not always possible to determine with certainty.”

And according to a person close to the company, its focus at the time of the February coup was more on banning advertisements for military-linked businesses in order to limit their ability “to profit from any development” from such positions. .

The person said the decision to remove the pages of these businesses was taken several weeks ago, and was “unrelated” to news of the lawsuit.

“Our team continues to monitor the ground situation in Myanmar and we will continue to take necessary action to keep our community safe,” Frankel wrote.

It was not immediately clear whether the new restrictions would affect business accounts on WhatsApp, the messaging app also owned by Meta.

The company declined to comment. But a person close to Meta said it would “remove any user who violates WhatsApp’s terms.”

Although WhatsApp does not have access to the content of private chats, it may take action to ban accounts believed to be involved harmful conduct Once it receives the report about such behavior.

A spokesman for the Myanmar military did not respond to a call from Granthshala Business seeking comment on Thursday.

— Cape Diamond contributed to this report.


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