Facebook shutters dozens of accounts tied to Myanmar's military

Facebook shutters dozens of accounts tied to Myanmar's military
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Facebook on Thursday said the military in Myanmar is still using the platform to sow ethnic divisions in the country, almost a year after the social media giant faced furious criticism for failing to catch a government campaign to spread disinformation about the nation's Rohingya Muslims.

The company said it removed 89 accounts, 107 pages, 15 groups and five Instagram accounts over "inauthentic behavior" in Myanmar. This is the fourth time over the past year Facebook has reported takedowns of accounts linked to Myanmar's military.

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"Our investigation found that some of this activity was linked to individuals associated with the Myanmar military," Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, wrote in a blog post.

According to Gleicher, the accounts were posting about "national and local topics, including crime, ethnic relations, celebrities, and the military."

"We identified these accounts through our internal investigation into suspected coordinated inauthentic behavior in the region," Gleicher wrote.

The social media giant has sought to remove violent actors and identify incendiary content for months after reports indicated Myanmar's military officials used the platform to stoke hatred and fear as the military engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the persecuted Muslim minority.  

Facebook earlier this year announced it was removing four "dangerous" armed insurgent groups in Myanmar from its platform.

The United Nations has called for an investigation into Myanmar's military leaders for committing crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide against the Rohingya people. The genocidal efforts against the Rohingya have forced an estimated 700,000 people to flee the country and settle in refugee camps in Bangladesh.   

An independent report commissioned by Facebook found that hateful posts on Facebook, often based on misinformation, led directly to stoking violence on the ground. The report, from Business for Social Responsibility, found that Facebook was "a means for those seeking to spread hate and cause harm."