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Facebook bans Myanmar military's accounts, ads in post-coup 'emergency'

03:03 PM Feb 25, 2021 | FPJ Web Desk

Social media giant Facebook announced on Thursday, February 25, that it was banning all accounts linked to Myanmar's military as well as ads from military-controlled companies in the wake of the Junta's seizure of power on February 1.

In a statement, Facebook said that it was treating the post-coup situation in Myanmar as an "emergency". It was stated that the ban was precipitated by events since the coup, including "deadly violence."

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Facebook already has banned several military-linked accounts since the coup, including army-controlled Myawaddy TV and state television broadcaster MRTV. The bans are also being extended to Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook.

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Facebook and other social media platforms came under enormous criticism in 2017 when right groups said they failed to act enough to stop hate speech against Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority.

The army launched a brutal counterinsurgency operation that year that drove more than 700,000 Rohingya to seek safety in neighbouring Bangladesh, where they remain in refugee camps. Myanmar security forces burned down villages, killed civilians and engaged in mass rape in their campaign, which the World Court is investigating as a crime of genocide.

Facebook, in 2018, banned the accounts of several top Myanmar military leaders, including Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who led this month's coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party. The general heads the junta that now acts as the government.

The junta has tried to block Facebook and other social media platforms, but its efforts have proven ineffective. For more than a week, it has also turned off access to the internet nightly from 1 a.m.

With inputs from PTI.

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