Myanmar’s military organized Facebook disinformation campaign against Rohingya: report
Myanmar’s military was behind a disinformation effort on Facebook that helped foment ethnic cleansing against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority, according to a New York Times investigation.
The operation spread anti-Rohingya propaganda by taking over the Facebook pages of popular celebrities and, after attracting large followings, posting inflammatory content, like fabricated pictures purporting to show massacres carried out by the ethnic group.
According to the Times, the military employed as many as 700 people in the social media operation.
In a blog post on Monday, Facebook responded to the report by saying it had identified and removed 13 pages and 10 accounts involved in the campaign. The company said that the pages had a total following of at least 1.35 million people.
“We are grateful to The New York Times for sharing what they learned about the use of celebrity and entertainment accounts to push military propaganda, which aided our investigation and this take-down,” Facebook said in the blog post.
The crisis in Myanmar has forced nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee the mass killings and rapes that the online campaign helped incite, according to the Times.
Facebook acknowledged in August that it had been “too slow to act” in responding to the crisis and was removing the official accounts of some of Myanmar’s military leaders.