Myanmar’s military junta blocks Facebook for sake of ‘stability’

Military blocks Facebook for sake of 'stability'
Military vehicles take position on a blockaded road near Myanmar's Parliament in Naypyidaw on February 4, 2021. Source: STR/AFP
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Daily US Times: Myanmar’s military junta have blocked Facebook in the country, days after they overthrew the democratic government.

Military junta officials said Facebook – for many in Myanmar the only access to the internet – would be blocked for the sake of “stability”.

The social media platform has become a key rallying point for opposition to Monday’s coup.

In further civil disobedience, lawmakers are refusing to leave their compound in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, and more pot-banging was seen in Yangon.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Communications and Information said access to Facebook would be blocked until 7 February. However, the platform was still reported to be accessible sporadically.

Anthony Aung, who runs a tour agency in Yangon, the main city, told that at one point he still had access to the site through WiFi but not cellular data.

He said “people around me are all rushing to download alternative apps and VPN” – which allow users to get round internet restrictions.

Hours later, Anthony Aung said Facebook had stopped working completely.

Yangon student Min Htet said her education had already been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. She told Reuters: “Blocking Facebook today means that the freedom of young people is restricted from now on.”

Half of Myanmar’s 54 million people use Facebook and activists have set up a page to co-ordinate opposition to the military takeover.

Facebook allows its app to be used without data costs in Myanmar as a way of avoiding expensive telecoms data charges.

The social media giant acknowledged the disruption, saying “we urge authorities to restore connectivity so that people in Myanmar can communicate with their families and friends and access important information”.

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