Facebook has banned four groups fighting against Myanmar’s military from its social network, the company said on Tuesday, saying it wanted to prevent offline harm by removing groups it branded “dangerous organisations”.
The company says it has removed hundreds of accounts, pages and groups for links to Myanmar’s military, or misrepresentation, since last August.
The action came after Facebook was criticized for not doing enough to prevent violent and hate-filled content spreading on its platform, which grew hugely popular in Myanmar just as conflicts in the country escalated.
The Arakan Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Kachin Independence Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army were banned, Facebook said in a statement on Tuesday, adding it would remove “praise, support and representation” of the groups.
“In an effort to prevent and disrupt offline harm, we do not allow organizations or individuals that proclaim a violent mission or engage in violence to have a presence on Facebook,” the company said.
The bans targeted only some of the ethnic minority insurgent groups in Myanmar that have battled for autonomy in conflicts that have raged on and off since shortly after Myanmar’s independence from Britain in 1948. The four groups named by Facebook have not signed a government-led ceasefire agreement and have frequently clashed with the armed forces in recent years.
Facebook said there was “clear evidence that these organizations have been responsible for attacks against civilians and have engaged in violence in Myanmar, and we want to prevent them from using our services to further inflame tensions on the ground”.