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Facebook removes pages, accounts of Myanmar army chief, officials

Decision taken after a United Nations probe called for the Myanmar army chief to be prosecuted for genocide over crackdown on Rohingya Muslims

SNS | New Delhi |

With the United Nations calling for the Myanmar army chief to be prosecuted for genocide over crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, social networking giant Facebook has banned him and removed pages tied to other military officials of the country.

“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,” Facebook has said in a blog post, calling the ethnic violence in Myanmar “truly horrific”.

Referring to the “report by the UN Human Rights Council-authorized Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar”, the Facebook post says international experts had found evidence that many of these individuals and organisations 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.”

REPORT | Myanmar generals must be prosecuted for genocide: UN report

Facebook claims to have removed six pages and six accounts from the network, and one account from Instagram, which were connected to these individuals and organizations.

In all, the post claims, 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account and 52 Facebook Pages, followed by almost 12 million people, have been removed.

“We are preserving data, including content, on the accounts and Pages we have removed. We are committed to working with and providing information to the relevant authorities as they investigate these atrocities in accordance with applicable law and our terms of service,” says the post.

Facebook has also removed 46 Pages and 12 accounts for “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior”. “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,” says the company.

Facebook says it will continue to work towards preventing the misuse of Facebook in Myanmar — “including through the independent human rights impact assessment” commissioned earlier in the year.

The Facebook post has attached screenshots of the content from pages and accounts removed by it.