YANGON — In a statement published on Facebook’s official Newsroom website on Monday afternoon, it was announced that the social media giant had closed accounts and banned a total of 20 individuals and organizations who “committed or enabled serious human rights abuses in the country” including Myanmar military chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing.
The move also targeted Myanmar military television network Myawady and Myanmar Daily Star, a mouthpiece for military propaganda, among others. The Facebook page of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief was also shut down which, along with Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing’s page and the page of the Myawady television network, had a combined total of more than 6 million subscribers.
The statement says Facebook is acting on a recent report by the UNHRC’s Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar that found the Facebook accounts and pages of these individuals and organizations to have directly or indirectly contributed to human rights abuses.
The UN report, published on the official UNHRC website earlier on Monday, stated:
“Myanmar’s top military generals, including Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, must be investigated and prosecuted for genocide in the north of Rakhine State, as well as for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States, a report by the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar* today urged.”
More than 60 other Facebook pages and accounts said to be spreading military viewpoints and untrue information without support of proper, independent research have also been shut down.
“During a recent investigation, we discovered that they used seemingly independent news and opinion Pages to covertly push the messages of the Myanmar military. This type of behavior is banned on Facebook because we want people to be able to trust the connections they make,” read the statement.
The statement, which features a number of screenshots of incriminating posts from the respective Facebook pages, also admits company has been “too slow to act” on the long-reported hate- and violence-inciting accounts, adding that efforts are underway to improve technology for reporting hate speech and content review.
Meanwhile, the official Facebook pages of Myanmar’s air force and navy remain live online. The Irrawaddy was not able to contact army spokesman General Tun Tun Nyi for comment today.