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Facebook Bans 4 Myanmar Insurgent Groups

Facebook is banning four armed insurgent groups in Myanmar from its platform.

The U.S.-based social media giant announced Tuesday in a written statement that it has designated the Arakan Army, the Myanmar Democratic Alliance Army, Kachin Independence Army and the Ta’ang Liberation as “dangerous organizations” to justify its decision to ban the groups from the site. The statement also said it will remove “all related praise, support and representation” of the groups as soon as it becomes aware of it.

The four groups are among several ethnic separatist groups who have battled for autonomy, identity and territory in the decades since Myanmar, also known as Burma, won its independence from Britain in 1948. The Arakan Army has been blamed for the deaths of 13 policemen in western Myanmar last month.

Facebook says there is “clear evidence that these organizations have been responsible for attacks against civilians” in Myanmar and wants to prevent them from “using our services to further inflame tensions on the ground.”

Facebook has come under fire after a United Nations fact-finding report accused the social media site of being “slow and ineffective” in preventing hate speech and violent rhetoric among Myanmar’s majority Buddhist population against the minority Muslim Rohingyas. The Myanmar military launched a scorched earth campaign against the Rohingyas in northern Rakhine State in August 2017, forcing over 700,000 Rohingyas across the border into Bangladesh.

Rohingya refugees would later recount scores of incidents of atrocities committed by the military, including rape, widespread killings and the torching of villages.

Facebook banned some high-ranking military officers from the site, along with hundreds of pages and accounts linked to the armed forces. The company also added hundreds of staffers who can read and speak Myanmar to detect any new pages containing hate speech.

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