Facebook removes Myanmar military-linked pages off platform
YANGON: Facebook has removed hundreds of pages and accounts in Myanmar with hidden links to the military, the platform said yesterday, as the company scrambles to respond to criticism over failures to control hate speech and misinformation.
The social media giant - Myanmar's most popular and influential site - has been lambasted for years for its ineffective response to malicious posts, particularly against the country's Rohingya Muslims.
The problem reached new levels of urgency last year as Myanmar's military drove more than 720,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh, while dehumanising material about the stateless group spread on the site.
Facebook said yesterday some 425 pages, 17 groups, 135 accounts and 15 Instagram accounts had been removed. They were posing as independent news, entertainment, beauty and lifestyle pages but in reality had links to the military or to pages previously removed.
This is Facebook's third sweeping take down of pages and accounts for what it calls "coordinated inauthentic behaviour" in Myanmar following deletions in October and August.
Hardline nationalist monks and even the army's top generals, accused by UN investigators of genocide, are among the users Facebook blacklisted this year.
Facebook said in a newsroom post that it does not want people or organisations "creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are, or what they're doing," adding that one page had 2.5 million followers.
Some of the deleted pages were called Down for Anything, Let's Laugh Casually, and We Love Myanmar.
Facebook has been trying to repair its battered reputation, improving the speed with which hate speech is taken down and vowing to beef up its Myanmar-language reviewers on staff to 100 by the end of the year.
But critics say this is not enough to oversee some 20 million Facebook accounts in the country, many in a patchwork of regional languages. - AFP