- Facebook is banning 20 Burmese individuals and organisations from its services, including a top military official, the company said on Monday.
- The social networking firm said the organisations and people had either enabled or were directly responsible for human rights abuses.
- Facebook has faced sustained criticism for its role in helping to spread fake news and hatred against the minority Rohingya population.
Facebook said on Monday it was removing certain Myanmar military officials from its core website and an Instagram account to prevent the spread of “hate and misinformation” after reviewing the content.
“Specifically, we are banning 20 Burmese individuals and organizations from Facebook — including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and the military’s Myawady television network,” Facebook said.
“We’re removing a total of 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account and 52 Facebook Pages, followed by almost 12 million people,” the company wrote in a blog post.
The ban doesn’t mean total deletion. Facebook is still keeping content and other data from the pages and accounts that it’s banned.
The company also said that some of the bans were pre-emptive. “We have not found a presence on Facebook or Instagram for all 20 individuals and organizations we are banning,” Facebook wrote.
Apart from the banned accounts, Facebook said it had removed 46 Pages and 12 accounts for engaging in coordinated “inauthentic” behavior on Facebook.
Facebook has come in for considerable criticism for its role in spreading misinformation in Myanmar, contributing to the ongoing violence against the minority Rohingya population. British politicians condemned the social network for undermining international aid efforts, and the company has admitted it was too slow to act against misinformation.
According to International Rescue Committee figures from 2017, the number of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape violence could top 1 million.