Facebook designates four ethnic armed groups, the Arakan Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Kachin Independence Army, and Ta’ang National Liberation Army, as “dangerous organizations” and shut them down from its platform.
Blacklisting four of Myanmar’s ethnic rebel groups from its platform was a stunt to control impassioned hate speech, misinformation, and incitement on its platform.
Back in August, the company banned 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account, and 52 Facebook pages, including those of armed forces commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, following the release of a UN Fact-Finding Mission report that was found with evidence of genocide in Rakhine State.
The action came after Facebook was criticized for not doing enough to prevent violent and hate-filled content from spreading on its platform, which grew hugely popular in Myanmar.
Again in December, Facebook eradicated about 600 additional accounts, pages, and groups which were suspected of having links with the Myanmar military for engaging in inauthentic behavior.
Facebook has since then removed hundreds of pages and accounts that contained what it suspected had hidden links to Myanmar’s military as it responds to criticism over its failure to monitor hate speech and misinformation.
Now, the company announced to remove groups it branded as “dangerous organizations” to “prevent offline harm.” The announcement by the tech giant coincides with an uptick in violence in northern Rakhine State after the AA attacked police outposts on January 4 in coordinated raids that killed 13 policemen and sparked a crackdown by the Tatmadaw, which the United Nations said has displaced at least 5,200 people.
As we see it over the past year, Facebook has intensified efforts to improve its reputation in Myanmar by enhancing the speed at which hate speech is taken down and adding to its team of Myanmar-speaking reviewers.