Facebook removes more accounts linked to military propaganda in Myanmar

FILE - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg pauses while testifying before a joint hearing of the Commerce and Judiciary Committees on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Facebook has removed a number of pages and accounts linked to the Myanmar military on Monday in further efforts to limit the spread of false information and hate in the country.

READ MORE: After heavy criticism, Facebook bans Myanmar leaders to prevent spread of hate

Facebook announced in a blog post that it has removed 13 pages and 10 accounts that were “engaging in coordinated inauthentic behaviour on Facebook in Myanmar.”

The accounts reached up to 1.35-million people, Facebook said, and were mostly entertainment, beauty and information pages that were found to be linked to the Myanmar military.

The removal comes after The New York Times published on Monday an investigation into Facebook accounts that have spread false information in Myanmar. Facebook thanked NYT for the investigation in its blog post.

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The investigation revealed that Myanmar’s military took part in a campaign against the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority that involved hundreds of military personnel creating news and celebrity pages on Facebook and then flooding them with incendiary comments from troll accounts.

The Rohingya have faced persecution in the country in the form of deadly attacks, the burning of villages and mass raping. Over 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017 to escape persecution.

Facebook had previously removed 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account and 52 Facebook pages that reached 12-million people in late August, which included banning Myanmar military generals’ accounts, but was criticized for not banning them sooner.

READ MORE: Myanmar sentences Reuters journalists to 7 years in jail

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The company has admitted misinformation has been spread on its network before, most notably during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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