Facebook has been blocked in Myanmar for its role in facilitating civil unrest following a coup that saw the military seize power from the government of Aung San Suu Kyi and declare a state of emergency.
Myanmar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications has ordered operators and ISPs to block access to the social network until 7th February, claiming that the service and other Facebook apps such as WhatsApp and Instragram were being used for “fake news and misinformation” that is “troubling the country’s stability.”
Facebook confirmed it was aware of the disruption, and urged the Myanmar military to lift the ban and allow users to communicate through the network. The social network is used by around half of Myanmar’s 53 million citizens and had been used to organise protests against the army’s coup.
Various outlets – including the FT and Reuters – noted that the block appeared to be patchy, with Facebook accessible for many users. Additionally, many Myanmar citizens used VPNs to continue using Facebook without restrictions.
Telenor Myanmar told the Financial Times that it had complied with the order, which was issued to all mobile operators, international gateway and internet providers in Myanmar, while noting that the move raised concerns over possible human rights violations.