Facebook boots Myanmar military-linked businesses off its platform

Facebook was confronted with heavy criticism from rights groups for its role in disseminating hate speech in Myanmar

US social media giant Facebook said it will start removing and subsequently ban companies linked to Myanmar’s military from operating on its platform. The move followed a $150- billion class action lawsuit filed against the company’s parent organization Meta Platforms on behalf of Rohingya refugees.

The page of telecom operator Mytel, one of four telecom operators in Myanmar, which is partly owned by the military, or Tatmadaw, was among the first being removed. The company said it has taken further action against “hundreds” of other accounts and pages linked to military-controlled businesses in Myanmar.

The page for Myanmar Beer had also been removed, but several smaller Mytel accounts, such as its customer service page, remained active. Facebook said the remaining pages would all be removed and the ban would be “enforced continuously”.

Army media pages already blocked

Earlier this year, Facebook already prevented military-run businesses from advertising and blocked junta-controlled media pages, including Tatmadaw True News and Myawady TV.

The new ban was “based on extensive documentation by the international community of these businesses’ direct role in funding the Tatmadaw’s ongoing violence and human rights abuses,” Rafael Frankel, Facebook’s policy director for emerging countries in Asia-Pacific, said in a statement on December 7.

The company will use a 2019 United Nations (UN) fact-finding mission report on the economic interests of the Myanmar military to identify companies that should be removed, Frankel added.

Facebook on “dirty list” of UK rights group

Justice for Myanmar (JFM), a group of activists that monitors the regime’s businesses and its networks, said junta-linked firms are used to finance military operations. The group emphasised that Facebook must ensure the new ban is comprehensive and “proactively” enforced and also applied to all of the military’s joint ventures with international and domestic companies.

While the removal and ban are welcomed by the international community, some say it took a long time for Facebook to take the radical step.

UN investigators said already in 2018 that Facebook played a key role in spreading hate speech that fueled violence in Myanmar. Facebook is further named on a “dirty list” of companies supporting military abuses in Myanmar compiled by the Burma Campaign UK rights group, which has been calling for the removal of military businesses from the platform for years.



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[caption id="attachment_37886" align="alignleft" width="300"] Facebook was confronted with heavy criticism from rights groups for its role in disseminating hate speech in Myanmar[/caption] US social media giant Facebook said it will start removing and subsequently ban companies linked to Myanmar’s military from operating on its platform. The move followed a $150- billion class action lawsuit filed against the company’s parent organization Meta Platforms on behalf of Rohingya refugees. The page of telecom operator Mytel, one of four telecom operators in Myanmar, which is partly owned by the military, or Tatmadaw, was among the first being removed. The company said it has...

Facebook was confronted with heavy criticism from rights groups for its role in disseminating hate speech in Myanmar

US social media giant Facebook said it will start removing and subsequently ban companies linked to Myanmar’s military from operating on its platform. The move followed a $150- billion class action lawsuit filed against the company’s parent organization Meta Platforms on behalf of Rohingya refugees.

The page of telecom operator Mytel, one of four telecom operators in Myanmar, which is partly owned by the military, or Tatmadaw, was among the first being removed. The company said it has taken further action against “hundreds” of other accounts and pages linked to military-controlled businesses in Myanmar.

The page for Myanmar Beer had also been removed, but several smaller Mytel accounts, such as its customer service page, remained active. Facebook said the remaining pages would all be removed and the ban would be “enforced continuously”.

Army media pages already blocked

Earlier this year, Facebook already prevented military-run businesses from advertising and blocked junta-controlled media pages, including Tatmadaw True News and Myawady TV.

The new ban was “based on extensive documentation by the international community of these businesses’ direct role in funding the Tatmadaw’s ongoing violence and human rights abuses,” Rafael Frankel, Facebook’s policy director for emerging countries in Asia-Pacific, said in a statement on December 7.

The company will use a 2019 United Nations (UN) fact-finding mission report on the economic interests of the Myanmar military to identify companies that should be removed, Frankel added.

Facebook on “dirty list” of UK rights group

Justice for Myanmar (JFM), a group of activists that monitors the regime’s businesses and its networks, said junta-linked firms are used to finance military operations. The group emphasised that Facebook must ensure the new ban is comprehensive and “proactively” enforced and also applied to all of the military’s joint ventures with international and domestic companies.

While the removal and ban are welcomed by the international community, some say it took a long time for Facebook to take the radical step.

UN investigators said already in 2018 that Facebook played a key role in spreading hate speech that fueled violence in Myanmar. Facebook is further named on a “dirty list” of companies supporting military abuses in Myanmar compiled by the Burma Campaign UK rights group, which has been calling for the removal of military businesses from the platform for years.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

 

 

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