Burma Campaign UK today called on Facebook to remove more than 25 Burmese military linked Facebook Pages on its site.
The Pages are either run by the military, or by military-owned or controlled companies, or exactly reproduce military propaganda but may not be directly run by the military. The Myanmar Air Force Facebook Page even has a blue tick showing it has been verified by Facebook.
Facebook has recently faced severe criticism from the United Nations, US Congress and British Parliament for failing to take action to prevent its platform being used to spread hatred and incite violence against the ethnic Rohingya and Muslims in Burma.
Despite closing some military Facebook Pages, including the page for Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the military, Facebook has left several official military pages on its site. It is hosting an organisation the United Nations has stated should be prosecuted for genocide. The military Facebook Pages, with close to 300,000 followers, can be used at any time to incite hatred and build support for further military offensives against ethnic and religious minorities.
The United Nations Fact-Finding Mission has stated that doing business with the military is indefensible and called for the financial isolation of the military, yet Facebook hosts 22 Facebook Pages for military-owned and controlled businesses, enabling them to promote their business in order to increase profits which go to the military.
“Facebook should not be hosting any form of Burmese military accounts, said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “Whether the Facebook Pages are spreading military propaganda or promoting military-owned business, either way they are promoting part of an institution responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Facebook has also failed to fully implement the nine recommendations made to it by the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, including on a genuinely independent investigation into how posts on their platform have led to real world discrimination and violence.
Facebook has been placed on the ‘Dirty List’ published by Burma Campaign UK because of its failure to implement the UN Fact-Finding Mission recommendations, its hosting of Burmese military pages, and its hosting of racist and discriminatory posts and pages by the Burmese government. View the Dirty List here.
Despite claims it is committed to tackling hate speech, Facebook has refused to take down the Information Committee Page of the Burmese government. This Page, which at the time was called the State Counsellors Information Committee Page, instigated fear and hatred of the Rohingya ahead of and during the 2017 military offensive. Even more so than Min Aung Hlaing’s Facebook Page. Facebook also refuses to take down the ‘Fake Rape’ sign on this Facebook page, part of a government campaign denying that rapes were taking place, despite this being verified by the United Nations and numerous other legal, media and human rights organisations.
Information Committee page:
One of the posts using the racist term Bengali to refer to the Rohingya:
Another one of the posts using the racist term Bengali to refer to the Rohingya:
One of the times the Information Committee Page featured an story implying the UN was helping ARSA, inciting hatred of the UN and endangering aid workers: https://www.facebook.com/InfomationCommittee/photos/a.639477959558647/786189564887485/?type=3&theater
Fake Rape picture on Information Committee Page:
List of Military Pages:
Myanmar Air Force (has blue tick)
Myo Chit Myanmar Army (There is nothing except Tatmadaw)
List of Military-owned or controlled companies:
(This is not a comprehensive list and there may be more military-controlled companies on Facebook).
Original press release here.