The new self-appointed military government of Myanmar has temporarily banned Facebook.
The local arm of multinational mobile carrier Telenor said it has received an order from the nation’s Ministry of Transport and Communications and has enacted it “while expressing grave concerns regarding breach of human rights.”
Newswire Reuters’ Myanmar reporter Hnin Zaw posted a notice from Myanmar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications that imposed a ban until February 7th.
Using optical character recognition and online translation tools, The Register surmises that the order says the ban is needed to stop the spread of fake news.
Censorship-watching organisation NetBlocks says it has detected the effects of the ban.
Update: Facebook products are now restricted on multiple internet providers in #Myanmar as operators comply with an apparent blocking order.— NetBlocks (@netblocks) February 3, 2021
Data show variations by provider, with MPT targeting a wider range of the company's services than Telenor 📉
📰 https://t.co/Jgc20OBk27 pic.twitter.com/RkdE2mdWFQ
Facebook has reportedly put Myanmar on a watchlist, in order to detect and delete content urging violence.
The Social Network™ is very widely used in Myanmar so the ban will stop the spread of all news and make it hard for citizens to communicate.
Locals may already be routing around the block: the trending domains report on Cloudflare’s internet radar also shows surging traffic to TikTok and the VK.com messaging service.
Internet blackout of Myanmar States that are home to ethnic minorities enters second yearREAD MORE
Ironically, the coup has also seen some communications restrictions lifted in Myanmar, including those imposed on a town in a district that is home to large numbers of the Rohingya ethnic minority that seeks the creation of an autonomous region and has been the subject of violent suppression. Telenor on Tuesday announced that it had received an order to restore services in eight towns and intends to comply as soon as it can. ®