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Facebook shuts dozens of Myanmar social media accounts over "inauthentic behaviour"

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08/22/2019 | 01:59am EDT
FILE PHOTO: The entrance sign to Facebook headquarters is seen in Menlo Park

YANGON (Reuters) - Facebook Inc said on Thursday it had shut 216 social media pages, groups and accounts in Myanmar, some tied to the army, to stymie efforts to "manipulate or corrupt public debate".

The company closed 89 Facebook accounts, 107 pages, 15 groups and five Instagram accounts, some of which had hundreds of thousands of followers, it said in a blogpost.

The social media giant has previously removed hundreds of accounts, including that of Myanmar’s army chief, after criticism it had failed to act on hate speech amid violence against Rohingya Muslims in the country.

The people behind the latest deleted Myanmar accounts repurposed legitimate news and entertainment content and posted about national and local topics, including crime, ethnic relations, celebrities, and the military, it said.

"Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found that some of this activity was linked to individuals associated with the Myanmar military."

In 2017, the military led a crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents, pushing more than 730,000 Rohingya to neighbouring Bangladesh, according to U.N. agencies.

(Editing by Michael Perry)

By Thu Thu Aung

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