One Big Thing: Is it right for the Burmese government to ban Facebook and other social media?
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Earlier this month, the military in Burma staged a coup following the landslide electoral victory for Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD). Since forcibly taking back control, the military government has declared a year-long national state of emergency. They have also imposed strict internet bans on social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, which have been used by Burmese citizens to follow electoral news and organize protests. These social media platforms have also been used as a means of disseminating public health advice related to COVID-19. Since the ban, other social media and messaging platforms have seen a surge in users in Burma including Twitter and Signal after the military temporarily disrupted internet access. This usage demonstrates the positive effect that social media platforms can have on the distribution of news and democracy movements.
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