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Updated on June 11, 2018 From Myanmar Times

Monks criticise Facebook over deletion of posts

Nationalist monks have accused Facebook of being unfair for demanding that they delete posts that allegedly spread hate speech.
        Ashin Thawparka, a member of Buddha Dhamma Parahita Foundation, which was formed to replace the banned Ma Ba Tha (Association to Protect Race and Religion), questioned the social media platform’s impartiality.
        “When we posted a picture of U Wirathu, they told us to remove it. When we removed it, we did not have trouble logging in to the account,” he said.
        While Facebook demanded that some of their posts about Muslims be removed, it did not remove or shut down accounts that criticise or insult them, said Ashin Thawparka.

        Nationalists said Facebook had “banned or disabled” their accounts because their online behaviour allegedly violated community standards.
        Among the accounts that were disabled or removed were those of U Wirathu, Magwe Sayadaw U Parmaukkha and U Thuseiktha.
        The move to block accounts of nationalist monks for allegedly spreading hate speech started last week following a meeting between Facebook and senior government officials and some non-governemnt organisations.
        Facebook executives warned during a news conference that they will ban and remove accounts and pages that spread hate speech.
        Being suspended for about 12 hours by Facebook, U Parmaukkha said the company had warned him that one of his recent posts, which he had to take down, violated community standards. He said the post was about his time in jail after being charged under section 505(b) of the penal code.
        He was sentenced to jail for leading a protest against a US embassy statement that used the word “Rohingya” in expressing condolences for a boat capsize that killed more than 20 Muslims in Rakhine State in 2016. After the protest, the monk was charged with offending the state.
        U Aung San Win, director of the Religious Affairs and Culture Ministry, said the action by Facebook has nothing to do with the government.

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