Facebook bans Myanmar's top military chief and dozens of pages from its services

Facebook has been taking a hard line with political organizations across the world that it believes abuse the social networking site for their propaganda. Late last month, Facebook took down a network of fake pages and accounts linked to the "Free Brazil Movement" for reportedly spreading misinformation across Brazil. Now, the company announced that it has made a similar move in Myanmar.

Earlier this year, Facebook formed a team across product, engineering, and policy to help address the spread of hate and misinformation in Myanmar. A few weeks ago, the company shared details about that effort and admitted that it had been sluggish in responding to those issues.

Today, Facebook said it has banned 20 individuals and organizations in Myanmar, including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the country's top military chief. The social media company took down the page of the military’s Myawady television network as well. The ban was also imposed on 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account, and 52 pages, which command nearly 12 million followers.

Facebook, however, pointed out that it is keeping the data on those removed pages and accounts. The goal of the crackdown is to prevent those organizations from further inciting ethnic and religious violence in the country, according to the company. Facebook cited a report by the UN Human Rights Council concluding that those organizations committed human rights abuses in Myanmar.

Additionally, the Menlo Park-based company removed 46 pages and 12 accounts for apparently using "independent news and opinion pages to covertly push the messages of the Myanmar military." The latest move is part of Facebook's broader effort to help curb the proliferation of hate speech, deception, and inauthentic accounts on the social media platform.

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