İrem UZUN -TDO- Facebook Inc. has widened a ban on pages linked to Myanmar’s military and barred advertising from affiliated commercial entities, stepping up its opposition to the coup in the Southeast Asian nation. It extends to Instagram as well as Facebook and includes military-controlled state and media entities, building on earlier suspensions of pages linked to the armed forces.

Military personnel had used Facebook extensively to push propaganda against the Rohingya minority group amid a genocidal campaign beginning in 2017, prompting many to blame the company for enabling mass murder - a point underscored by a scathing UN report in 2018 that concluded Facebook played a key role in fomenting violence. The ban announced Wednesday affects the Air Force, the Navy, the Ministry of Defense and other government agencies and spokespeople, Facebook said. Facebook is the de facto Internet in Myanmar and has emerged as a major platform for organizing resistance to the military coup.

"Events since the February 1 coup, including deadly violence, have precipitated a need for this ban," Facebook said in a blog post on Thursday. "We believe the risks of allowing the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) on Facebook and Instagram are too great."

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