Facebook bans Myanmar military and allied companies from using its platform

Beginning Thursday, Facebook will ban businesses owned by Myanmar’s military or its allies from using the social media platform. The move is in response to a Reuters report published in June detailing how the military had been exploiting Facebook to spread fake news and incite ethnic strife.

The company declined to reveal which businesses would be affected by the ban. Reuters reported that about 60 companies like telecommunications companies and banks were subject to restrictions. The social media giant will also likely be forced to remove some posts before they reach the public.

Facebook announced the changes on Wednesday morning, according to Reuters. Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, wrote in a blog post that the company did not have the authority to “ban a nation-state for the harmful acts of its military.” But she said that Facebook plans to “intensify our work with governments to hold those governments accountable for controlling the misuse of their social media platforms, as well as ensuring there are no unintended consequences for free expression online.”

Facebook has come under fire in the wake of the Reuters report for failing to detect Myanmar’s military exploitation of the platform, despite the platform’s size and scale. The company has called for Myanmar to be declared a “high risk” country by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It also defended the internet access it provides Myanmar, calling it the best way to eliminate “vicious rhetoric and rumors” as the government tries to scrub its country of extremism and dangerous content.

Read the full story at Reuters.




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