Pro-military supporters throw projectiles at Yangon residents on Feb. 25, 2021, after weeks of mass demonstrations against the military coup.
Sai Aung Main | AFP | Getty Images
SINGAPORE – The Myanmar military has been banned from using Facebook and Instagram with immediate effect, Facebook said in a blog post on Thursday.
“Events since the Feb. 1 coup, including deadly violence, have increased the need for this ban. We believe the risks of allowing the Tatmadaw on Facebook and Instagram are too great,” the statement said, referring to the official name of the armed forces of Myanmar. .
Military-controlled state and media companies will also be blocked from the two social media platforms, while military-linked commercial companies will not be able to post ads.
The ban will not affect government departments and agencies that provide essential public services, such as the Department of Health and the Department of Education, the social media giant said.
Myanmar’s military seized power on Feb. 1 following the arrest of members of the democratically elected government, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. The military claimed there was voter fraud in last year’s election and declared a state of emergency for a year.
Thousands of people have protested the coup, and clashes with authorities have sometimes turned violent. At least three protesters and a police officer have been killed so far.
Facebook said it has removed content from military pages and violated accounts in recent years for violating community standards and preventing the Tatmadaw from abusing the platform.
It will now “indefinitely” suspend military accounts, the company said, citing reasons such as the military’s history of “exceptionally grave human rights violations and the apparent risk of future military-initiated violence in Myanmar.”
It added that the military has attempted to rebuild networks with misrepresentation and upload content previously removed for violation of Facebook’s policies against violence, incitement and coordinating damage.
“The coup greatly increases the danger of the above behavior, and the likelihood that online threats can lead to offline damage,” said Facebook.
A report commissioned by Facebook in 2018 found that the social media giant had previously failed to prevent the platform from being “ used to foment disunity and incite violence offline. ”
“We agree that we can and should do more,” Facebook said at the time.
In 2018, the tech giant banned military-affiliated individuals and organizations, including junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, the general who staged the recent coup.