Business & Economy

Facebook blocks company profiles linked to Myanmar army

Bangkok, Dec 8 (EFE).- Meta said Wednesday it would block the profiles on social media platform Facebook of companies controlled by the Myanmar Army, adding to other accounts of military chiefs and pro-military media disabled since February’s coup.

The announcement comes a day after Rohingya refugees filed a coordinated lawsuit in the United States and the United Kingdom against Meta, the parent company of Facebook, for $ 150 billion for allegedly encouraging hate speech in Myanmar.

Rafael Frankel, Policies for Emerging Asia-Pacific Countries director, said in a statement that the decision is made based “on abundant documentation from the international community on the direct role of these companies in financing violence and other Human Rights abuses by the (Myanmar Army.)”

The army controls more than 100 companies related to oil and gas, mines, breweries, mobile telephony and hotels, among others, through the conglomerates Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd and Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd.

The technology company led by Mark Zuckerberg said the ban is in line with sanctions approved by the United States, the European Union and other governments, as well as United Nations recommendations concerning business and human rights.

Facebook banned messages celebrating the violence of soldiers or the detention of civilians and blocked media profiles linked to the Army after the Feb. 1 military coup.

The social network already blocked the accounts of high-ranking military personnel in 2018, including the head of the army and military junta Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.

Meta, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, is the most widely used social network in Myanmar with some 22 million users.

The Myanmar Army, which already ruled the country from 1962 to 2011, ordered telecommunications operators to block access to Facebook in February, and other platforms linked to the multinational to preserve “stability” in the country.

However, many bypassed this block by using VPN pages, which avoid tracking navigation.

Facebook has been accused of failing to act in time to prevent hateful messages and disinformation against the Rohingya Muslim minority, victims of military operations in 2016 and 2017 described by the UN as an ethnic cleansing campaign with indications of “genocide.” EFE


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