Facebook Purged Hundreds Of Accounts Linked To Myanmar’s Military

December 19, 2018, 6:55 PM UTC

Almost 9 months after the United Nations accused Facebook of playing a “determining role” in instigating an ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the social media giant announced Tuesday that it has completed its third and largest purging of pages, groups, and accounts that have been linked to the Myanmar military.

“Today, we removed 425 Facebook Pages, 17 Facebook Groups, 135 Facebook accounts and 15 Instagram accounts in Myanmar for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook,” the social network wrote in its updated blog post about Myanmar.

“As part of our ongoing investigations into this type of behavior in Myanmar, we discovered that these seemingly independent news, entertainment, beauty and lifestyle Pages were linked to the Myanmar military, and to the Pages we removed for coordinated inauthentic behavior in Myanmar in August,” Facebook also said in the post.

The UN Refugee Agency estimates that more than 723,000 Rohingya refugees fled Myanmar since violence broke out last year, and conservative reports say that 10,000 have been killed in that time.

Facebook admitted in August—the same day Reuters released a searing report identifying over 1,000 posts calling for attacks against Muslims in Myanmar—that it hadn’t been proactive enough to stop its platform from being used to spread hate, misinformation, and calls for violence against ethnic groups. The next week Facebook banned various high-profile groups and accounts. This including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed force, and the military’s Myawady television network, citing evidence found by the UN Human Rights Council that they had “committed or enabled serious human rights abuses in the country.”

Facebook banned 13 other pages that had combined 1.35 million followers in October, immediately following the publication of a different damning report by the New York Times.

This week’s ban had an even larger scope. According to Facebook, 2.5 million people followed at least one of these Facebook Pages and approximately 6,400 people belonged to at least one of the barred Facebook Groups.

The Facebook news comes a week after Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey faced public scrutiny for a series of tweets raving about his trip to Myanmar, encouraging others to visit the country.

Dorsey allegedly took a government-organized hot air balloon ride, although a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed that Dorsey wasn’t aware of the government’s involvement, nor did he contact anyone in the government during his trip.