“We are aware that access to Facebook is currently being interrupted for some people,” a Facebook spokesperson told Engadget. “We urge the authorities to restore connectivity so that the people of Myanmar can communicate with their families and friends and access important information.”
The move comes after a week of unrest in Myanmar. On Monday, the military, led by General Min Aung Hlaing, arrested the country’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and declared a state of emergency. Suu Ki Party won the November election in the country in a landslide, taking 346 of the 476 parliamentary seats that were up for grabs. However, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, which has ties to the military, rejected the election results, saying widespread electoral fraud had occurred.
Tuesday, Facebook banned an account associated with the Myawaddy television channel, which had been promoting the actions of the army to an audience of more than 33,000 people since at least the beginning of 2020. At the time, a Facebook spokesperson said the company “is closely monitoring political events in Myanmar”, as well as efforts to “put an end to disinformation and content that may generate new tensions.”
Facebook has a complicated history in Myanmar. The company has long been accused of not doing enough to spread of disinformation in the countryside, with a 2018 report, which she commissioned herself, noting that the company had helped amplify calls for violence.