Facebook bans armed groups in Myanmar

Tyrone Stewart

Myanmar RohingyaFacebook has stepped up its action in Myanmar, a place where the social network has been used to stoke racial tension and violence, by banning four armed groups from its platform.

The Arakan Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Kachin Independence Army, and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army have all been booted from Facebook. In addition, the tech giant says it will also be removing “all related praise, support and representation” of the groups “as soon as we become aware of it”.

The groups are just a few of the many armed ethnic groups in the troubled nation, which has endured years of ethnicity-related conflict.

“We do not allow organisations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or engage in violence to have a presence on Facebook,” said Facebook. “This includes terrorist activity, organised hate, mass or serial murder, human trafficking, organized violence or criminal activity. There is clear evidence that these organisations have been responsible for attacks against civilians and have engaged in violence in Myanmar, and we want to prevent them from using our services to further inflame tensions on the ground.”

In August 2018, Facebook made the unprecedented decision to remove the profiles of several high-ranking officials in the Myanmar military – the first time it had ever banned a nation’s political or military leaders.