Facebook removes Myanmar military's main page

The coup leaders violated policies on violence.

Facebook is further clamping down on the Myanmar military following the coup that ousted its elected government. Reuters reports that Facebook has removed the main page (True News Information Team) for the military, known as the Tatmadaw, for "repeated violations" of community rules that prevent inciting and coordinating violence. The social network didn't say if a particular incident prompted the response, but it came hours after police killed two protesters.

The company banned army chief (and now coup leader) Min Aung Hlaing and other senior officers in 2018, and banned hundreds of pages promoting violence that same year. Facebook also slapped the Myanmar military with mutliple restrictions since the coup. It limited the reach of the Tatmadaw page over misinformation, deleted pro-coup posts alleging voter fraud and barred government agencies from asking for content removal.

This may only have a limited effect. The Myanmar military has tried numerous steps to stifle pro-democracy protests, blocking Facebook in the country and shutting down internet access. Many of the people who could most appreciate Facebook's actions might not even have access to the site. Critics would point out that the military was violent from the start, and that Facebook might have taken action earlier.

Even so, it's clear that Facebook is eager to avoid the inaction and obliviousness that helped fuel anti-Rohingya hate in Myanmar. It's sending a message that governments aren't above rules on misinformation and violence, even if there are concerns Facebook might be overly cautious about pulling material.