Myanmar military government orders telecom networks to temporarily block Facebook – TechCrunch

Myanmar’s new military government has ordered local telecommunications companies to temporarily block Facebook in the Southeast Asian nation days after the military seized power in a military coup.

Several users of the Myanmar subreddit reported moments ago that Facebook was already inaccessible to them, suggesting that ISPs have already started complying with the order that required compliance by Wednesday midnight.

Myanmar has claimed that Facebook is contributing to the instability of the country, citing a section of the local telecommunications law in order to benefit the public and the state.

NetBlocks, which tracks global internet usage, reports that MPT, a state-owned telecommunications operator that dominates the market, has blocked Facebook, as well as Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp on its network.

LATEST DEVELOPMENT: New military government orders telecommunications companies to temporarily block Facebook, assuming the social media platform is disrupting restoration of stability in the country. Back to the 2000s in three days. #myanmar

– Hnin Zaw (@hninyadanazaw) February 3, 2021

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The move comes after days of unrest in Myanmar, where the military took control of the country earlier this week and declared a state of emergency for a year after arresting civil leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders of her ruling National League for Democracy would have.

Facebook, which has become synonymous with the internet in Myanmar, has long been accused of not doing enough to contain the spread of misinformation that has led to real violence in the country.

A 2018 human rights report said Facebook was used in Myanmar to “promote divisions and incite offline violence”. Later that year, Facebook agreed that they hadn’t done enough.

BuzzFeed News reported this week that Facebook executives have pledged to take proactive steps to moderate content in Myanmar that they describe as a “temporary high risk location”.

This is a developing story. Continue …

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