Facebook has reportedly maintained a ban on many organizations in Myanmar that have joined forces to oppose the military coup that took place in February. according to Rest of the world. The bans were enacted in 2019, when organizations such as the Arakan Army and many of its allies were classified as terrorist organizations by the democratically elected government.
Since then, things have changed in Myanmar. After the military coup and the takeover of the government by the Tatmadaw (carried out after an election that the military claims were fraudulent), the political situation has become extraordinarily complex. However, one thing is seemingly clear: the Arakan army is no longer classified as a terrorist organization, including by the current military-led government, or by the elected government currently in exile. But according to Rest of the worldthe Arakan army is still not allowed on Facebook.
The AA isn’t the only group unable to communicate via Facebook. There are apparently many ethnically armed organizations (EAOs) operating in the country, some of them have united as a resistance to the coup government, which has been violence against pro-democracy protesters. Many of their Facebook pages were also restricted in 2019, by order of the democratically elected government, which has since been overthrown.
According to Rest of the world, the ban on EAOs was controversial even before the coup: some claim it prevented the dissemination of information about human rights violations, such as the genocide against the Rohingya Muslims performed by the Tatmadaw. Now EAOs and journalists in the country are claiming that Facebook’s bans prevent them from showing what is happening in the fight against the current military government. The director of a human rights organization said it Rest of the world that the prohibitions are “as trying to close people’s eyes and ears”.
Facebook too banned pages in connection with the Tatmadaw after the coup, but human rights activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi recounts Rest of the world that the company has still not responded to the political changes that have taken place in Myanmar since then, and called on the company to establish an official supervisory board for the country.