Facebook removes main page of Myanmar military for ‘incitement of violence’
Facebook has deleted the main page of the Myanmar military, citing its standards prohibiting the incitement of violence, a day after two protesters were killed when police opened fire at a demonstration against the February 1 coup.
- The Myanmar military’s so-called True News page on Facebook has been removed for “coordinating harm”
- Facebook has long faced scrutiny in Myanmar for failing to contain hate campaigns online
- Australia says it is “saddened” by the death of a protester and is “reviewing” relations with Myanmar
“In line with our global policies, we’ve removed the Tatmadaw True News Information Team Page from Facebook for repeated violations of our Community Standards prohibiting incitement of violence and coordinating harm,” a Facebook representative said in a statement.
The Myanmar military is known as the Tatmadaw.
Its True News page was no longer available on Sunday.
Two people were killed in Myanmar’s second city, Mandalay, when police and soldiers fired at protesters demonstrating against the overthrow of the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, emergency workers said.
Facebook in recent years has engaged with civil rights activists and democratic political parties in Myanmar and pushed back against the military after coming under heavy international criticism for failing to contain online hate campaigns.
In 2018, it banned army chief Min Aung Hlaing — now the military ruler — and 19 other senior officers and organisations, and took down hundreds of pages and accounts run by military members for coordinated inauthentic behaviour.
Ahead of November elections, Facebook announced it had taken down a network of 70 fake accounts and pages operated by members of the military that had posted either positive content about the army or criticism of Ms Suu Kyi and her party.
Australia ‘saddened’ by death of pro-democracy protester
Protesters paid tribute to a young woman who died a day earlier, after being shot by police during a rally in the capital, Naypyitaw.
An impromptu memorial created under an elevated roadway in Yangon attracted about 1,000 protesters.
A wreath of bright yellow flowers was hung beneath a photograph of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, who was shot on February 9, two days before her 20th birthday.
“We are saddened by reports of the death of a young woman injured by police gunfire during demonstrations in Nay Pyi Taw on 9 February,” a spokesperson for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) told the ABC.
“We continue to urge authorities to refrain from using violence in response to those exercising their assembly rights through nationwide protests.”
Singapore, which together with Myanmar is part of the 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), condemned the use of lethal force as “inexcusable”.
“We strongly urge the security forces to exercise utmost restraint to avoid further injuries and loss of lives, and take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation and restore calm,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Both Singapore and Indonesia have said ASEAN should play a key role in encouraging dialogue and a return to normalcy in Myanmar.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price offered his government’s condolences and reiterated calls on the military to refrain from violence against peaceful protesters.
The US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand have announced limited sanctions, with a focus on military leaders.
DFAT said Australia was “deeply concerned” about the military coup and was “reviewing its engagement with Myanmar, including in relation to defence cooperation and sanctions”.
“We continue to call for the immediate release of Australian economist Professor Sean Turnell and others arbitrarily detained since 1 February,” the spokesperson said.
Professor Turnell was arrested by authorities days after the coup was launched.
He is the director of the Myanmar Development Institute in the capital, Naypyidaw, and has worked as an economic advisor to Ms Suu Kyi for several years.