Facebook bans Myanmar military chief, others to stop hate

800Source: Associated Press

By VICTORIA MILKO

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Facebook said Monday that it is banning Myanmar’s powerful military chief and 19 other individuals and organizations from its site to prevent the spread of hate and misinformation.

The social media giant was heavily criticized for permitting itself to be used to inflame ethnic and religious conflict in the country, particularly against minority Rohingya Muslims. It has been accused of being lax in fighting online misinformation and manipulation in many countries, but Myanmar is one where it has been most closely tied to deadly violence.

Some 700,000 Rohingya have fled from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine over the past year in response to a brutal counterinsurgency campaign by the military, which has been accused of massive human rights violations. Critics accuse the military of carrying out ethnic cleansing, or even genocide, an allegation denied by the government, which says it was responding to attacks on security forces.

Facebook said it also targeted pages and accounts that pretended to provide independent news and opinion, while covertly promoting messages of Myanmar’s military. It said it was deleting 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account and 52 Facebook pages.

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