Now, in taking further action, Facebook has made it clear that it is making a political judgment. In a statement, the company said it was banning “remaining” accounts linked to the military because the coup was “an emergency.”
“Events since the February 1 coup, including deadly violence, have precipitated a need for this ban,” the company said. It added that the risks of letting the Myanmar military remain on Facebook and Instagram “are too great.” It said the military would be barred indefinitely.
The action underscores the difficulties Facebook faces over what it allows on its site. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has long championed freedom of speech above all else, positioning the site as merely a platform and technology service that would not get in the way of governmental or social disputes.
But Mr. Zuckerberg has been increasingly scrutinized by lawmakers, regulators and users for that stance and for allowing hate speech, misinformation and content that incites violence to flourish on Facebook.
Over time, Facebook has become more activist over what is posted on its platform, especially in the past year with the U.S. election. Last year, it cracked down on pages and posts about the QAnon conspiracy theory movement. And last month, Facebook barred then-President Donald J. Trump from using the service, at least through the remainder of his term, after he urged his supporters to take a stand against the results of the election, leading to an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Mr. Trump remains unable to post on Facebook.