After getting kicked off Facebook, Myanmar’s top general is banned from Russia’s biggest social network

Looking for a new online home.
Looking for a new online home.
Image: Reuters/Lynn Bo Bo/Pool
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Soon after Facebook booted senior general Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Myanmar, for spreading hate speech, he found a new home on social media on Russian site VKontakte (VK). Now he’s no longer welcome there too.

The general’s VK page now says that his account has been “suspended due to a violation of the VK Terms of Service.” Frontier Myanmar reported that the account had about 37,000 followers before it was taken down—far short of the millions of follower his Facebook page had.

Facebook, which has been blamed for failing to take action against people in Myanmar who use the platform to stoke hatred of the Rohingya minority, suspended the accounts of 20 individuals and groups on Aug. 27, shortly after the release of a United Nations report that concluded that Myanmar’s military generals had “genocidal intent” against the Muslim minority. The report called for Min Aung Hlaing and other generals to be investigated and prosecuted for genocide.

Min Aung Hlaing wasn’t the only high-ranking Myanmar individual to use VK. Nay Zin Latt, a former presidential adviser in Myanmar, for example, urged citizens (paywall) to migrate to the Russian platform and called Facebook a “dictator.” And radical Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, who critics say also incites anger against the Rohingya minority, set up a VK account after being booted off Facebook in February, but his VK account was blocked in August, along with Nay Zin Latt’s.

In response to a query about the suspension, VK told Quartz: “The commander in chief of Myanmar’s armed forces page was blocked permanently after receiving many complaints from users. We have specifically hired Burmese speaking moderators to monitor publications in communities and user pages from Myanmar. Our moderation team delete publications that violate VK rules.”

The statement echoed the reasons the social network gave the Wall Street Journal (paywall) in August with regards to the suspension of Wirathu’s account, when it said, “Publications with calls for violence will be deleted by our moderation team, and users who host them will be banned.”

Min Aung Hlaing’s Twitter account, meanwhile, remains in operation, with the last tweet posted on Sept. 1.