Facebook bans Myanmar military accounts, pages including military chief

Facebook bans Myanmar military accounts, pages including military chief
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Facebook on Monday said that 18 accounts and 52 pages associated with the Myanmar military, including the country’s top military official, had been deleted to “prevent the spread of hate and misinformation” on its platform.

The accounts were deleted shortly after the United Nations (U.N.) released a new report on Monday alleging war crimes and genocide of the Rohingya people in Myanmar at the hands of the country’s military.

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Facebook has received intense scrutiny over how its platform has helped exacerbate ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Its platform, which has become a popular tool in the country, has also helped misinformation fueling violence and hate against the Rohingya to spread rapidly.

Roughly 25,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed and 700,000 have fled to Bangladesh in the past year.

The U.N. report targeted several top Myanmar military officials, including its commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, that it believes should be prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity.

Facebook deleted the accounts of these officials after the report's release, as well as other pages associated with the Myanmar military.

“We want to prevent them from using our service to further inflame ethnic and religious tensions,” Facebook said in a post, noting that around 12 million have followed the pages.

“We continue to work to prevent the misuse of Facebook in Myanmar — including through the independent human rights impact assessment we commissioned earlier in the year,” the company said. “This is a huge responsibility given so many people there rely on Facebook for information — more so than in almost any other country.”

Facebook has admitted that it has been “too slow to act” in curbing its platform’s role in the genocide in Myanmar. Earlier this month, it had announced new measures to help ease this and told The Hill it was taking the matter seriously.

A detailed, months-long investigation by Reuters suggested that the company’s efforts to reduce its role as a vehicle for violence are falling short on many fronts.