Myanmar orders Internet providers to block Facebook services

YANGON: Internet providers in Myanmar together with state-owned telecom MPT have been blocking entry to Facebook-owned services within the nation on Thursday (Feb 4), days after navy leaders seized power in a coup.

A letter posted on-line by the Ministry of Communications and Information in a single day mentioned Facebook could be blocked till Feb 7 for the sake of “stability”.

Some customers in Myanmar reported they weren’t ready to entry a number of Facebook services.

Network monitoring group NetBlocks confirmed state-owned telecom MPT, which says it has 23 million customers, had blocked Facebook in addition to its Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp services. Norway’s Telenor Asa mentioned it had simply blocked Facebook to adjust to the directive.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone acknowledged the disruption.

“We urge authorities to restore connectivity so that people in Myanmar can communicate with their families and friends and access important information,” he mentioned.

Half of Myanmar’s 53 million individuals use Facebook, which for a lot of is synonymous with the Internet.

“Currently the people who are troubling the country’s stability … are spreading fake news and misinformation and causing misunderstanding among people by using Facebook,” the ministry letter mentioned.

READ: US leads condemnation as Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi charged after coup

Telenor expressed “grave concern” in regards to the directive, which it mentioned had been acquired by all cell operators and Internet service providers on Wednesday.

It mentioned in an announcement it was directing customers to a message saying Facebook web sites can’t be reached due to authorities order.

“While the directive has legal basis in Myanmar law, Telenor does not believe that the request is based on necessity and proportionality, in accordance with international human rights law,” it mentioned.

On Tuesday, the navy warned towards the posting of what it mentioned have been rumours on social media that would incite rioting and trigger instability.

UN human rights investigators have beforehand mentioned hate speech on Facebook had performed a key function in fomenting violence in Myanmar. The firm has mentioned it was too sluggish to act in stopping misinformation and hate within the nation.

This week, Facebook mentioned it was treating the state of affairs in Myanmar as an emergency and taking non permanent measures to defend towards hurt resembling eradicating content material that praises or helps the coup, in accordance to a spokeswoman.

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