Virtual Lecture – The Good, the Bad, and the Shutdown: Internet Use in Myanmar

Wednesday 9 March 2022, 10:00 am – 11:00 am EST, online (Washington DC, USA)


Featuring Mona Kleinberg, Jenifer Whitten-Woording, Myat The Thitsar, and Ardeth Thawnghmung.

Facebook’s diffusion in Myanmar has been linked to sharp increases in violence toward minority groups—especially the Rohingya. However, little is known about how people in Myanmar actually use Facebook, how they acquire, disseminate, and evaluate the information they find on the platform. We use a series of interviews conducted in Myanmar with people from many different backgrounds and ethnic groups to highlight how diverse Facebook use is in Myanmar. We show that although Facebook and the internet more broadly are western media, they do not necessarily bring an international perspective to Myanmar. In fact, we find that people utilize Facebook in a highly localized way. For example, most people almost exclusively trust and read local news on the platform, and many ethnic minorities whose alphabet is not available on Facebook find ways to circumvent this barrier and use Facebook as their “village square.” We also address the 2021 military coup and its consequences for internet access, media freedom, and the people of Myanmar.


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