February 25, 2021

Burma Campaign UK today welcomed an announcement by Facebook that all military pages except those promoting military companies have been taken down. Burma Campaign UK has been calling on Facebook to remove the military from Facebook since 2018.

“This is a welcome and long overdue step by Facebook,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “In a country where Facebook has been so incredibly popular, it’s a psychological blow for the military. They have put a lot of resources into using Facebook for propaganda purposes, to recruit soldiers and to raise funds.”

However, Facebook have decided to let the military keep using Facebook to promote its companies and products. It is not clear why Facebook decided to let the military keep using Facebook to raise money.

Facebook has accepted that there is a problem with military companies by restricting their paid for advertising, but will let them keep pages, which are a free advertising platform. Burma Campaign UK is not aware of any companies currently advertising anyway, since Mytel took down their main Facebook pages.

Facebook has faced severe criticism since 2012 for its failure to act against hate speech and incitement of violence against the Rohingya and Muslim populations of Burma. The military used Facebook to recruit soldiers, posting slick recruitment videos. It also uses Facebook to promote products made by its companies. Dozens of pages promoting military companies and brands remain on Facebook.

Facebook will remain on the ‘Dirty List’ of companies linked to Burma’s military, as it has decided to let the military keep using Facebook to promote its products and raise funds.

“Facebook now needs to kick military companies off Facebook,” said Mark Farmaner. “It doesn’t make sense to stop the military using Facebook for their propaganda and recruitment but still let them use Facebook to raise money.”

The ‘Dirty List’ is available here.

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