YouTube removes channels run by Myanmar military

YouTube removes channels run by Myanmar military
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YouTube has removed five channels tied to television networks run by Myanmar’s military as the country experienced its deadliest week of unrest since its military-led coup last month. 

Reuters reported late Thursday that YouTube confirmed it had removed “a number of channels,” including the state network Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV), as well as the military-owned Myawaddy Media, MWD Variety and MWD Myanmar. 

A YouTube spokeswoman told Reuters that the platform had removed the channels, as well as “several videos … in accordance with our community guidelines and applicable laws.” 

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The Hill has reached out to YouTube for additional information. 

This move comes after at least 38 people were killed in Myanmar Wednesday after security forces opened fire on demonstrators protesting against last month’s coup, when the military took country leader Aung San Suu Kyi into custody and declared a yearlong state of emergency. 

The military had argued that last year’s November election, in which Suu Kyi’s party had massive wins, was invalidated by widespread fraud. The country’s election commission has refuted this claim. 

Despite the large number of deaths Wednesday, anti-coup demonstrators returned to the streets Thursday. 

YouTube had previously received criticism from both researchers and civil society groups over claims of not doing enough to combat misinformation on its platform around Myanmar’s November election. 

In December, Google announced that it had removed 34 YouTube channels after an investigation into a coordinated propaganda campaign linked to Myanmar. 

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Reuters reported that it had found dozens of channels on YouTube that in some way promoted misinformation regarding the country’s election, with many accounts posing as news outlets or political shows. 

Late last month, Facebook announced that it had banned Myanmar's military and military-controlled state media accounts from its platform amid the ongoing anti-coup protests. 

Facebook’s director of policy for Asia-Pacific emerging countries, Rafael Frankel, said in a blog post at the time, “Events since the February 1 coup, including deadly violence, have precipitated a need for this ban.” 

“We believe the risks of allowing the Tatmadaw on Facebook and Instagram are too great,” Frankel added, referring to Myanmar’s military.