Facebook bans Myanmar military owned businesses from platforms

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Facebook bans Myanmar military owned businesses from platforms

Reuters- Meta Platforms Inc, formerly known as Facebook, said on Wednesday it would ban all Myanmar military controlled businesses from having a presence on its platforms in an expansion of its earlier curbs on the country's security forces.

In February, the U.S tech giant announced it would stop all entities linked to the military, known as the Tatmadaw, from advertising on its platforms.

Rafael Frankel, Meta's Pacific director of public policy for emerging countries, Asia Pacific, said the action was based on extensive documentation by the international community and civil society of these businesses' direct role in funding the Tatmadaw.

A military junta spokesman banned Facebook in February, but did not answer calls seeking comment.

According to Frankel, Meta has identified the companies based on a report from a U.N. Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, research from activist groups Justice for Myanmar and Burma Campaign UK, as well as consultations with civil society.

He told Reuters it had already taken down over 100 accounts, pages, and groups linked to military-controlled businesses.

Facebook plays an outsized role in Myanmar as the dominant internet channel, and is widely used by both protesters against military rule and soldiers.

After coming under heavy international criticism for failing to contain online hate campaigns, Facebook has pushed back against the military and introduced measures to protect Myanmar users.

The platform is facing a $150 billion lawsuit from Rohingya refugees over their allegations that it did not take action against hate speech directed at the Muslim Rohingya minority that contributed to violence.

In 2018, U.N. human rights investigators said that Facebook allowed the platform to be used by radical Buddhist nationalists and military members to promote a campaign of violence against the Rohingya, 700,000 of whom fled a 2017 army crackdown.

Frankel didn't say anything about the lawsuit, but said we're appalled by the crimes committed against the Rohingya people in Myanmar. We have built a team of Burmese speakers, banned the Tatmadaw, disrupted networks manipulating public debate and taken action on harmful misinformation to keep people safe.