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UPDATE 1-Myanmar military rulers order block on Twitter, Instagram 'until further notice'

UPDATE 1-Myanmar military rulers order block on Twitter, Instagram 'until further notice'

· 02/05/2021 14:40
UPDATE 1-Myanmar military rulers order block on Twitter, Instagram 'until further notice'

Adds details of order, background

By Fanny Potkin

- The new military rulers of Myanmar on Friday ordered mobile operators and internet service providers to block access to Twitter TWTR.N and Instagram FB.O in the country until "further notice", Norwegian telecom Telenor said.

The government had already ordered internet providers on Thursday to block Facebook, which counts half of the population of 54 million as users, until Feb. 7.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology did not immediately answer a request for comment, but said previously it had blocked Facebook for the sake of "stability".

Twitter, which is also facing pressure from authorities in India, did not immediately answer requests for comment.

A spokesman for Facebook confirmed the block on Instagram.

"We urge authorities to restore connectivity so that people in Myanmar can communicate with family and friends and access important information," he told Reuters.

In a statement, Telenor TEL.OL expressed "grave concern" about the directive and said it had challenged its necessity to authorities.

Since the ban on Facebook, thousands in Myanmar have flocked to Twitter and Instagram to express their opposition to Monday's takeover by the army and the ousting and arrest of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.nL4N2KA1KD

Many people are using social media and pro-democracy hashtags to criticize the army’s takeover and call for peaceful protests until the result of November’s election, which was won in a landslide by Suu Kyi’s party, is respected.

The hashtags #RespectOurVotes, #HearTheVoiceofMyanmar, and #SaveMyanmar all had hundreds of thousands of interactions by Friday, according to hashtag tracker BrandMentions. nL4N2KB31S

The military has made unsubstantiated claims that the election of Suu Kyi and her National Democracy League was fraudulent. The election commission said the vote was fair. nL1N2KB22W


(Reporting by Fanny Potkin, additional reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; editing by Grant McCool)

((f.potkin@thomsonreuters.com;))