World Bulletin / News Desk
It has removed a total of 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account and 52 Facebook Pages, followed by almost 12 million people, in an effort to deal with fake news, misinformation and hate speech, the company announced.
“Specifically, we are banning 20 individuals and organizations from Facebook in Myanmar -- including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and the military’s Myawady television network,” it said.
“International experts, most recently in a report by the UN Human Rights Council-authorized Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, have found evidence that many of these individuals and organizations committed or enabled serious human rights abuses in the country."
“And we want to prevent them from using our service to further inflame ethnic and religious tensions.”
Facebook had recently admitted being too slow in fighting hate speech against the ethnic minority groups, especially Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.
On Aug. 25, 2017, Myanmar launched a major military crackdown on the Muslim ethnic minority, killing almost 24,000 civilians and forcing over 750,000 others to flee to Bangladesh, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In its report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.
Facebook said it also removed 46 Pages and 12 accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior on the planform.
“During a recent investigation, we discovered that they used seemingly independent news and opinion Pages to covertly push the messages of the Myanmar military,” it said.
“This type of behavior is banned on Facebook because we want people to be able to trust the connections they make.”
The UN on Monday called for an investigation and prosecution of Myanmar's top military officials for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against Rohingya Muslims.