Banned From Facebook, Myanmar Army Now Turns to Russian Social Media

Swarajya StaffFriday, August 31, 2018 4:55 pm IST
Myanmar Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing (Pic: Twitter)
Myanmar Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing (Pic: Twitter)

After being banned from Facebook the Myanmar army chief whom United Nations investigators want to prosecute for genocide has sought refuge at Russian social-media site VKontakte (VK) reports The Wall Street Journal.

General Min Aung Hlaing’s new page, dubbed “Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Services” was authenticated by military sources though they have refrained from the vituperation he directed at the Rohingya on Facebook.

The United Nations (UN) investigators have last week reported that the excesses of the Myanmar army which allegedly killed 10,000 Rohingyas while 700,000 fled across the border to Bangladesh, had crossed all possible threshold of genocide and is comparable to the likes of Rwanda and Bosnia.

The VK platform provides multiple languages for its users, including Burmese, Russian and English. Its functions are similar to those available on Facebook, allowing users to share information, post photos, create pages and engage in free instant messaging.

California-based Facebook announced on Monday that it had deleted the pages and accounts of a total of 20 organizations and individuals, including Snr-Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who “committed or enabled serious human rights abuses in [Myanmar].” following the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC)’s fact-finding Mission on Myanmar that found the Facebook accounts and pages of these individuals and organizations directly or indirectly contributed to human rights abuses, especially regarding northern Rakhine State’s 2017 Rohingya crisis.

“The extent to which Facebook posts and messages have led to real-world discrimination and violence must be independently and thoroughly examined,” the UN report said.

VK, or VKontakte, the Russian term for “in contact,” claims 97 million active monthly users, mostly in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Its founder, Pavel Durov, was dismissed as chief executive in 2014 and later went to start the Telegram instant-messaging platform.

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