Rights group says the social media giant breaches own policies in Myanmar and earlier promised to take down content that incites violence against protesters.

Facebook is under fire for promoting Myanmar military's propaganda on its network.
Facebook is under fire for promoting Myanmar military's propaganda on its network. (AP)

Facebook is promoting pages and content that are linked with Myanmar's military and encourage violence against protestors who oppose the February coup despite an earlier promise that all such posts will be taken down, a new report by the rights group Global Witness says.

The recommendation algorithm of the social media giant breaches the company's own policies, it says. 

Weeks after the military seized power in Myanmar and imprisoned elected leaders, Facebook's algorithms were still prompting users to view and “like” pro-military pages with posts that incited and threatened violence, pushed misinformation that could lead to physical harm, praised the military and glorified its abuses, Global Witness says. 

That's even though the social media giant vowed to remove such content following the coup, announcing it would bar Myanmar military and military-controlled pages from its site and from Instagram, which it also owns. 

It has since enacted other measures intended to reduce offline harm in the country.

READ MORE: Scores killed by Myanmar's troops in Ayeyarwady delta

Critics: broad statements, poor enforcement

Facebook said Tuesday its teams “continue to closely monitor the situation in Myanmar in real-time and take action on any posts, Pages or Groups that break our rules.”

Days after the February 1 coup, the military temporarily blocked access to Facebook because it was being used to share anti-coup comments and organise protests. Access was later restored. 

In the following weeks, Facebook continued to tighten its policies against the military, banning all military entities from its platforms and saying it would remove praise or support for violence against citizens and their arrest.

“Once again, Facebook shows that it’s good at making broad sweeping announcements and bad at actually enforcing them. They’ve had years to improve their work in Myanmar but once again they are still failing,” said Sophie Zhang, a former Facebook data scientist. 

Hundreds of protesters killed 

The struggle between the military regime that deposed Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government and those opposing it has sharpened in recent months.

Soldiers and police have killed hundreds of protesters. 

READ MORE: Over 800 civilians killed in Myanmar by junta since coup in February

Facebook is immensely popular in Myanmar where nearly half of its population uses the social networking site not just to stay in touch but also access news. 

“What happens on Facebook matters everywhere, but in Myanmar that is doubly true," the report says. 

Source: AP