Facebook banned Myanmar’s military from the social network amid violent protests against the coup that was carried out there this month.
The Silicon Valley giant also booted the Tatmadaw armed forces from Instagram over concerns that the military’s posts on the platforms would lead to real-world violence.
“We believe the risks of allowing the Tatmadaw on Facebook and Instagram are too great,” Facebook said in a blog post late Wednesday.
Facebook said it’s also kicked military-controlled state and media entities off the platforms and banned ads from commercial entities linked to the Tatmadaw.
Myanmar’s army seized power on Feb. 1 as it claimed the country’s Nov. 8 election, which was swept by leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, was fraudulent.
The coup drew international condemnation and sparked massive demonstrations in which at least three protesters and one policeman have been killed.
Facebook said it based its decision to ban the Tatmadaw on “the clear risk of future military-initiated violence in Myanmar, where the military is operating unchecked and with wide-ranging powers,” as well as the military’s history of “exceptionally severe” human rights abuses.
The Tatmadaw and its affiliated accounts and pages have also violated Facebook’s policies since the coup by trying to rebuild networks of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” and sharing harmful content, Facebook said.
“The coup greatly increases the danger posed by the behaviors above, and the likelihood that online threats could lead to offline harm,” the company’s blog post read.
The ban does not apply to government agencies that support essential public services, such as the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Sport, Facebook said.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has taken action against Myanmar’s military. It had already banned Commander in Chief Min Aung Hlaing — who is now the country’s de facto ruler — in 2018 along with 19 other individuals and organizations linked to the military.
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