BANGKOK – Facebook said it has banned all remaining accounts linked to the Myanmar military on Thursday, citing the junta’s use of deadly force against anti-coup demonstrators.
The move, which takes effect immediately, applies to the military and entities controlled by the armed forces on both Facebook and Instagram.
It also bans all “military-linked commercial entities” from advertising on the platforms.
“Events since the February 1 coup, including deadly violence, have precipitated a need for this ban,” the social media giant said in a statement.
“We believe the risks of allowing the Tatmadaw on Facebook and Instagram are too great,” it added, using the Myanmar name for the country’s armed forces.
Security forces have steadily increased the use of force against a massive and largely peaceful civil disobedience campaign demanding Myanmar’s junta relinquish power.
Three anti-coup protesters have been killed in demonstrations so far, while a man patrolling his Yangon neighbourhood against night arrests was also shot dead.
The military has used Facebook to boost its claims that voter fraud had marred an election last November that ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi had won in a landslide.
In recent years, the social media giant has banned hundreds of army-linked pages after being criticised for its ineffective response to malicious posts in the country.
Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and other top brass were booted from the platform in 2018, a year after a military-led crackdown forced around 750,000 members of the Rohingya Muslim minority to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh.
Thursday’s announcement follows Facebook’s decision on the weekend to ban a page run by the regime’s “True News” information service.