Facebook deletes Myanmar military's main page following 2 more civilian deaths

Facebook said the page had violated its Community Standards by inciting violence.

Kayla Wong | February 21, 2021, 02:13 PM

Facebook has taken down the main page of the Myanmar military for violating its standards that prohibit the incitement of violence, Reuters reported.

Page taken down after Myanmar police killed two more civilians

In a statement released on Sunday, Feb. 21, the tech giant said the military's page, called the Tatmadaw True News Information Team Page, was deleted for "repeated violations of [their] Community Standards prohibiting incitement of violence and coordinating harm".

The move took place a day after the death of two unarmed civilians who were shot in the head and the chest respectively by Myanmar's riot police during a protest in Mandalay on Saturday, Feb. 20.

Protesters, however, remained undeterred, and continued showing up at mass protests in both Yangon and Mandalay on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Not the first time

Back in 2018, Facebook had banned several Myanmar military leaders, including current military ruler Min Aung Hlaing, citing the prevention of the spread of "hate and misinformation" after reviewing their content.

According to Reuters, it was the first time that Facebook had banned a country's military or political leaders.

The move was taken after investigators from the United Nations said the military had conducted mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingyas with "genocidal intent".

Fake posts alleging election fraud found on Facebook before the election took place

Prior to the November election last year, Facebook had also deleted a number of pages that it said were fake accounts operated by military members.

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy had won by a landslide, but the military had claimed the election was fraudulent. The country's election commission had dismissed the fraud complaints, which were not backed by any evidence.

According to Reuters, Facebook posts alleging election fraud were up since October, before the polls were held. The same pages which wrote the posts also called for military intervention in the 48 hours before the coup was conducted on Feb. 1.

Facebook had taken several of these pages down before it was shut down by the military following the coup that ousted Suu Kyi's civilian government.

Myanmar citizens, however, had bypassed the ban using virtual private network (VPN).

Protesters used Facebook to organise themselves

Several parts of the country had also experienced periodic shutdown of Internet access and communication services in the days following the coup.

Activists had used the Internet and Facebook heavily as a means to help organise protest efforts.

The military had restricted Internet access in previous occasions as well, such as in the Rakhine and Chin states when the army was fighting local groups.

Top image via @karen_khin/Twitter