Facebook, Instagram ban military and related pages with immediate effect

In a February 24th update to its February 11th statement, Facebook through its Director of Policy, APAC Emerging Countries, Rafael Frankel, announced that it would be banning the “remaining Myanmar military (“Tatmadaw”) and military-controlled state and media entities from Facebook and Instagram, as well as ads from military-linked commercial entities.”

The group justifies the ban by the Tatmadaw’s history of exceptionally severe human rights abuses, history of on-platform content and behavior violations, reconstitute networks of Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior that were previously removed, and content that violates violence and incitement and coordinating harm policies. Therefore, “the risks of allowing the Tatmadaw on Facebook and Instagram are too great.”

Facebook also specified that Tatmadaw-linked commercial entities will be prevented from advertising on the platform based on the UN Fact-Finding Mission 2019 report, on the economic interests of the Tatmadaw, as the basis to guide these efforts, and that these bans will remain in effect indefinitely.

It is not the first time Facebook takes such measures. In 2018 it had banned 20 military-linked individuals and organizations, including Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing. From 2018 to 2020 Facebook removed at least six Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior networks run by the Tatmadaw; and since Feb. 1st, disabled the Tatmadaw True News Information Team Page, and MRTV and MRTV Live Pages, while reducing “distribution of content on at least 23 pages and profiles controlled and/or operated by the Tatmadaw so fewer people see them.”

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