Burma: Facebook closes army-linked accounts after violence



Facebook announced the closure of all remaining accounts linked to the Burmese military on Thursday, February 25, due to “Murderous violence” committed by the junta against pro-democracy demonstrators.

→ READ. Burma: thousands of demonstrators brave the junta

The social network’s decision took effect immediately, applying to the military and entities controlled by the armed forces on Facebook and Instagram. It also prohibits all advertising. “Events since the coup d’état of 1er February, including deadly violence, precipitated the need for this ban ”Facebook said in a statement. “We believe that the risks of allowing Tatmadaw (the Burmese army, editor’s note) on Facebook and Instagram are too big ”.

Five dead since the coup

Over the past three weeks, the generals have stepped up the use of force to weaken the pro-democracy mobilization in Burma, where thousands of people have challenged them by taking to the streets daily. The death toll since the coup rose to five on Wednesday, February 24, after the death of a 20-year-old man who succumbed to his injuries in Mandalay.

On Thursday, February 25, junta supporters armed with knives, pipes and slingshots attacked residents of Yangon, the largest city in Burma. Local residents had started hitting pots and pans, an act that had become a symbol of anti-junta resistance, to protest against a pro-military demonstration in the center of the city. “They aimed at us with slingshots from a car … a dozen people were injured in the head”, said Aung Zin Lin, 38, who lives nearby.

Facebook banned by the junta

Facebook ban aims to prevent Burmese generals “To abuse our platform”, assured the press release of the American digital giant. The army has indeed used the social network extensively to spread its accusations of electoral fraud during the November election, won hands down by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party.

Since taking power, the junta has arrested hundreds of pro-democracy protesters, ordered nightly Internet shutdowns and banned several social networks, including Facebook, in an attempt to weaken the anti-junta movement. Last weekend, Facebook decided to ban True news, the main page managed by the regime’s information service, accused of inciting violence.

→ INVESTIGATION. The Burmese army, an all-powerful “xenophobic caste”

The pages of government institutions now run by the junta are not affected. “This ban does not cover government ministries and agencies engaged in the provision of essential public services”, is it also stated in the Facebook press release. “This includes the Ministry of Health and Sports, and the Ministry of Education. “

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