After the coup in Myanmar last Monday (1), the new military government has ordered all telecommunications companies in the region to block WhatsApp and Facebook. According to government officials, social networks led by Mark Zuckerberg “bring instability” to the country and companies have until midnight on February 7 to take the platforms off the air. The information is from the internet monitoring service, NetBlocks, and the telecommunication company Telenor Myanmar.
About 27 million people use the social network in the country, approximately half of the population. When trying to enter the site, the user is redirected to a page explaining that the government has banned the network in an act of “greater public and state benefit”. According to TechCrunch, Messenger and Instagram apps were also blocked. It is not known how long the ban will last.
Internet provider Telenor Myanmar claimed that, although the directive is legally based on the country’s law, the company expresses “serious concerns about the violation of human rights”
In the past few days, “democracy” and “Save Myanmar” have been widely used on Facebook. Before that, protests against the coup were already in full swing on the social network. Users changed their profile photos to portraits of leader Aung San Suu Kyi – democratically elected in 2016 – or to the banner of the National League for Democracy party. A Facebook spokesman said the company is already in contact with authorities to restore connectivity in the country.
After arresting Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of his government, Myanmar military personnel announced Monday morning (1) that they had seized power in the Asian country.
In a statement broadcast by the military television station, the group said the country’s highest authority was given to the commander, Min Aung Hlaing. A state of emergency was also declared in the country.
Aung San Suu Kyi faces charges of possessing illegally purchased walkie talkies. Reports indicate that the leader would be tried for treason, but there is still no confirmation from the new government.