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Facebook bans four armed groups in Myanmar in attempt to thwart violence

Facebook bans four armed groups in Myanmar in attempt to thwart violence
[Photo: LinkedIn Sales Navigator/Unsplash]

The social media giant has announced that it has banned four Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) that exist in Myanmar, reports TechCrunch. The groups have been designated as “dangerous organizations” by Facebook for their role in violence against ethnic minorities in Myanmar. The groups include the Arakan Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Kachin Independence Army, and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army.

In a blog post, Facebook said, “These armed groups are now banned from Facebook and all related praise, support and representation will be removed as soon as we become aware of it.” It also noted that “the ethnic violence happening in Myanmar is horrific and we don’t want our services to be used to spread hate, incite violence or fuel tension on the ground.”

Of course, it’s a bit late for that. Last year the UN released a report that found that Facebook played a “determining role” in inciting the genocide in Myanmar. Since then, Facebook has been scrambling to react to the use of their platform in the country to spread hate and incite violence against ethnic minorities. To be fair to Facebook, they have taken some action in the last year to counteract this, which the company points out in its blog post:

Since last August, we’ve taken down three networks who were misrepresenting who they were and what they were doing, banned Myanmar military officials, given an update on the steps we’re taking to prevent the spread of hate and misinformation and released the findings of the Human Rights Impact Assessment on the role of our services in the country.

Still, many Facebook critics say the company is just employing “whack-a-mole” tactics–tackling problems only after they’ve become problems instead of being proactive and getting out in front of the problems themselves.

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