Facebook is continuing to ban anti-coup groups in Myanmar

According to Rest of the World, Facebook has allegedly maintained the ban on many groups in Myanmar who joined forces to oppose the military coup in February. The sanctions were implemented in 2019 when the democratically-elected government ranked groups such as the Arakan Army and many of its allies as terrorist groups.

Since then, things in Myanmar have changed. The political situation has been very volatile after the military coup and the capture of the Tatmadaw by the government (carried out after an election that had been illegal on the grounds of the military). One point, though, is apparently clear: the Arakan Army, either by the existing government headed by the military or by the elected government now in exile, is no longer regarded as a terrorist organization. But the Arakan Army is still not permitted on Facebook, according to Rest of the World.

The AA is not the only group unable to connect through Facebook. Apparently, many EAO's are active in the region, some of them banded together to oppose the coup government who has attacked pro-democracy protesters in a violent fashion. Many of the Facebook accounts were limited by the newly elected government after 2019. In addition, many of them were restrained.

The ban on EAOs was problematic before the coup according to Rest of the World: there are those who contend that it prohibited the distribution of reports on abuses of human rights including the genocide carried out by the Tatmadaw against Rohingya Muslims. Now the EAOs and journalists around the world complain that prohibitions from Facebook keep them from telling the new military government what's happening. The Head of an organization for human rights told the Rest of the World that the restrictions "had to shut the eyes and ears of the public."

But human rights activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi tells the Rest of the World that the company had refused to respond to the political reforms that had since taken place in Myanmar. Facebook has prohibited pages that were affiliated with the Tatmadaw's after the coup and urges the company to set up an official country oversight board.

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