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Facebook bans Myanmar military officials over spreading hate news

Aug 27, 2018, 4:15 pm

Facebook takes a firm action in response to the growing violence against Rohingyas in Myanmar: it banned both the Instagram and Facebook accounts of several Myanmar officials and pages that were effectively spreading hate news. In a blog post, Facebook apologizes for such a late reaction and reassures the users that with better technology and improved reporting tools, it will be able to identify toxic posts and accounts with more efficiency, henceforth.

A total of 18 Facebook account, one Instagram account, and 52 Facebook Pages, followed by almost 12 million people have already been removed. Facebook, however, confirms that it has preserved all important data and content from the banned accounts and pages.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and the military’s Myawady television network are among the ones whose accounts have been blocked. “International experts, most recently in a report by the UN Human Rights Council-authorized Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, have found evidence that many of these individuals and organizations committed or enabled serious human rights abuses in the country. And we want to prevent them from using our service to further inflame ethnic and religious tensions. This has led us to remove six Pages and six accounts from Facebook – and one account from Instagram – which are connected to these individuals and organizations. We have not found a presence on Facebook or Instagram for all 20 individuals and organizations we are banning”, wrote Facebook on its blog post.

Other than this, 46 pages and 12 accounts have also been removed owing to their engagement with “inauthentic behavior on Facebook”. It was discovered, in a recent investigation, that these pages used apparently independent news to secretly push the messages spread by the Myanmar officials. Facebook has also put up a plethora of screenshots from those accounts, to justify their ban and also to warn people of their work ethics and how they are not going to compromise with that.

“Facebook’s action means an essential blackout of the military’s main channel of public communication, with pages followed by millions of people in a country where the social media giant is virtually synonymous with the internet”, wrote Reuters. Facebook’s late but effective action will, hopefully, stop the widespread expansion of the hateful notions by the Myanmar officials.

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