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Myanmar coup latest: Facebook bans military from its platforms

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YANGON/BANGKOK — On Feb. 1, Myanmar’s military detained State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint in the country’s first coup since 1988, bringing an end to a decade of civilian rule.

The Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy had won a landslide in a general election last November. But the military has claimed the election was marred by fraud.

For all our coverage, visit our Myanmar Coup page.

Read our in-depth coverage:

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Myanmar: Inside the coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s government

Follow the latest developments here (Yangon time):

Thursday, Feb. 25

2:30 p.m. Here are more scenes from Yangon, where supporters of the military took to the streets earlier on Thursday, with some reports of violence against anti-coup residents.


A military supporter points a sharp object as he confronts anti-coup residents during a rally for the armed forces in Yangon on Feb. 25.

  © Reuters

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Supporters of Myanmar’s military carry banners and flags through the streets of Yangon.

  © Reuters

1:00 p.m. The foreign ministers of Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia intend to arrange an informal ASEAN gathering in August, a Thai spokesman says, explaining the results of Wednesday’s trilateral talks in Bangkok. 

“We agreed to hold an informal ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in August this year and the [ASEAN] foreign ministers will discuss about the meeting further,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Tanee Sangrat says. “Thailand and Indonesia agreed together that Myanmar is an important member of the ASEAN family and ASEAN can be a platform to constructively provide solutions for Myanmar and other members by adhering to the ASEAN Charter.”

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Tanee also details a Wednesday phone call between U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who doubles as defense minister. The spokesman says they discussed the importance of ASEAN finding a peaceful solution, with Austin stressing Thailand’s role in the bloc.

Meanwhile, Myanmar military spokesperson Zaw Min Tun tells Nikkei Asia that the meeting with the Thai and Indonesian foreign ministers was “so good” and “confirmed that ASEAN will maintain a non-interference policy.” 

Zaw Min Tun also says that Aung San Suu Kyi’s State Counselor Office was abolished last Friday. 

11:00 a.m. A crowd of military supporters marched through Yangon earlier on Thursday morning, toward the landmark Sule Pagoda. Residents showed their displeasure by banging pots and pans, to which the military supporters responded by firing slingshots. Footage posted on social media showed scattered violence, including what appeared to be military backers beating and even stabbing bystanders. Some were detained by residents and reportedly found to be former soldiers themselves, based on their ID cards.

10:40 a.m. Facebook has banned Myanmar’s military from using its platforms with immediate effect. “Events since the February 1 coup, including deadly violence, have precipitated a need for this ban,” the social media giant says in a blog post. “We believe the risks of allowing the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s army) on Facebook and Instagram are too great.”

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The post adds that all military-linked “commercial entities” would also be banned from advertising. On the other hand, Facebook says the ban “does not cover government ministries and agencies engaged in the provision of essential public services,” such as the health and education ministries. Facebook had already removed the Tatmadaw’s main page.

4:20 a.m. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price expresses concern about the deportations by Malaysia.

“We continue to urge all countries in the region contemplating returning Burmese migrants back to Burma to halt those repatriations until the [United Nations Refugee Agency] can assess whether these migrants have any protection concerns before being sent back to Burma, noting that the Burmese military has a long documented history of human rights abuses against members of religious and ethnic minority groups,” Price tells a news conference.

4:00 a.m. London-based NetBlocks, the self-described “Internet’s Observatory,” reports decreased internet access in Myanmar.


Protesters hold up placards protesting the military takeover of Myanmar on Feb. 24 in Yangon.

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Wednesday, Feb. 24

11:15 p.m. The United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures — experts independent of any U.N. member state government — have denounced Malaysia’s deportation decision.

“The Malaysian authorities in defiance of the court order breached the principle of non-refoulement … which absolutely prohibits the collective deportation of migrants without an objective risk assessment being conducted in each individual case,” experts say.

“The failure to ensure due process safeguards for all migrants including through case-by-case risk assessments and adequate protection measures on an individual basis, heightened their vulnerabilities and risk of exploitation and other violations upon return,” they say.

9:00 p.m. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has met with her Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin in Bangkok, as Jakarta steps up its push for an Association of Southeast Asian Nations-led resolution of the crisis in Myanmar.

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Marsudi traveled to the Thai capital after canceling a planned trip to the Burmese capital of Naypyitaw.

Indonesia faces the difficult task of uniting the 10-nation ASEAN bloc behind its efforts, starting with holding a ministerial meeting on the crisis.

“Thailand has conveyed its agreement, and so far ASEAN countries have expressed their commitment to support a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers,” Marsudi tells reporters.

4:00 p.m. Human rights groups and some Malaysian lawmakers are calling on the government to explain why it deported over 1,000 Myanmar nationals despite a court order to wait, arguing the move could amount to contempt of court, Reuters reports. The Kuala Lumpur High Court on Tuesday had granted a stay on the deportation of 1,200 detainees, pending an application by Amnesty International and Asylum Access.

But hours later, the authorities sent 1,086 people back on three Myanmar navy ships.”We believe that the government owes an explanation to the people of Malaysia as to why they chose to defy the court order,” Amnesty’s Malaysia director Katrina Maliamauv tells reporters. The court has reportedly extended the stay order barring 114 remaining detainees from being deported for the time being.

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12:53 p.m. Myanmar’s foreign minister arrives in Thailand for the junta’s first diplomatic talks since the military seized power in a coup, Reuters reports.

9:30 a.m. Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry issues a statement saying Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi will not travel to Myanmar to hold talks with Myanmar’s military leaders. “Been having rounds of phone communications with several ASEAN FM colleagues for the last few days, inc. FM Philippines, Viet Nam, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia and Laos on developments in #ASEAN,” Marsudi said in a tweet.

8:00 a.m. Protesters gather in Yangon, the 19th day since large-scale street demonstrations started on Feb. 6. Ethnic minority groups, as well as youth, are out in the streets in various parts of the city, including Hledan district in the heart of the second-largest city in the country.

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3:35 a.m. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne says she has discussed the situation in Myanmar with Philippine counterpart Teodoro Locsin.

Tuesday, Feb. 23

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11:30 p.m. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi is set to visit Myanmar on Thursday for what appears to be the first in-person meeting between the new military government and a Southeast Asian official, Reuters reports, citing a leaked government document.

Reuters says a Myanmar official confirmed that the Ministry of Transport letter was authentic.


Protesters drum their opposition to the coup during a demonstration in Yangon on Feb. 23.

  © AP

Separately, Indonesia’s foreign ministry earlier denied a protest-inducing report that was planning to hold Myanmar’s military junta to its promise of new elections. The junta claims last November’s election results were ridden with voter fraud.

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9:15 p.m. Some scenes from today’s protest outside the Indonesian Embassy in Bangkok.

  © Reuters

  © Reuters

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  © Reuters

8:40 p.m. Even as street protests continue, some major supermarkets and shopping centers have reopened, as have garment factories.

“I have to earn a living, so I can’t take part in protests every day, but we closed yesterday,” a restaurant owner says, referring to Monday’s general strike.

Government offices and banks remain in effect closed as their workers take part in the civil disobedience movement.

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Meanwhile, military leader Gen. Min Aung Hlaing was quoted in state media as telling his ruling council to “put its energy into reviving the country’s ailing economy.”

5:00 p.m. Malaysia’s immigration department says it has carried out a repatriation program involving 1,086 Myanmar nationals, despite an earlier court order to stay the deportation. Department Director-General Khairul Dzaimee Daud said in a statement the people were sent back on three Myanmar navy ships and did not include ethnic Rohingya refugees or asylum-seekers.

2:30 p.m. Members of the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, say that their complaint to the police about a Feb. 9 raid on their headquarters was not taken seriously.

They say police have “accepted” their complaint, but not acted on it. As such, the NLD will bring the case to “a higher level of police authority,” they say.

2:21 p.m. The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven rich countries say the use of violence against people protesting against the coup in Myanmar is unacceptable and perpetrators must be held to account.

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Police officers advance toward protesters in Yangon on Monday, when a massive crowd took to the streets to protest against the military coup and demanded the release of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, whom Myanmar’s military detained on Feb. 1.

  © Getty Images

“We condemn the intimidation and oppression of those opposing the coup. … We remain united in condemning the coup in Myanmar,” the foreign ministers say in a joint statement, adding, “We call again for the immediate and unconditional release of those detained arbitrarily, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.”

1:40 p.m. A Malaysian court allows a temporary stay of deportation of 1,200 Myanmar nationals scheduled to be sent back to their strife-torn homeland, after rights groups petitioned, saying deportation could endanger their lives.

1:00 p.m. A sign at a shop selling phones in Yangon reads, “We won’t sell products to people who do not participate in CDM [the Civil Disobedience Movement].”

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According to the store manager, this shop was kept closed on Monday. “All shops in downtown closed, and we are also one of them,” he said, explaining the reason for the shop’s closure was “to allow the employees to do what they wanted yesterday,” indicating the shop encouraged its staffers to join the protests.


A sign at a shop selling phones in Yangon reads, “We won’t sell products to people who do not participate in CDM [the Civil Disobedience Movement].”

12:00 p.m. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi says Myanmar’s transition to democracy after this month’s coup should follow the wishes of its people. “The inclusive democratic transition should be pursued according to the wishes of the Myanmar people. Any way forward is the means to this end,” Retno said in a message sent to Reuters by her office.

11:30 a.m. Groups gather in front of the Indonesian Embassy in Yangon to protest against Indonesia’s plan for new elections. On Monday, Reuters reported that Indonesia is pushing for the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations to agree on an action plan over the coup that would hold the junta to its promise of conducting elections, with monitors to ensure they are fair and inclusive, but not seek the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi.


Protesters gather near the Indonesian Embassy in Yangon on Tuesday. (Photo by Yan Naing Aung)

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Lei Wah, a 29-year-old office staffer who came to the embassy to protest, said: “I’m upset with the plan. We don’t need to redo the election. If we hold one, it means we agree with the junta. The election was already held in November, and we accepted it.”

10:30 a.m. Witnesses say the crowd at Sule Pagoda Road, the main street in downtown Yangon, is smaller than yesterday. Factories and shops have reopened after a general strike the day before.

A 32-year-old man working at a bag factory who was protesting said: “Me and the generation older than me suffered under the previous military rule — the education was very bad, and we were always afraid of the police. I don’t want that to happen again.”

9:00 a.m. Protesters start to gather in the Hledan district of central Yangon, marking the 18th day since large-scale street demonstrations started on Feb. 6. Police block the road near the U.S. Embassy, where crowds have called for Washington to put more pressure on the junta.


People gather to protest the coup in a commercial district of Yangon on Tuesday.

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8:00 a.m. The U.S. Treasury Department announces additional sanctions on two military officials who are members of the State Administration Council. A department statement says the sanctions are “in response to the Burmese security forces’ killing of peaceful protesters.”

2:00 a.m. Local media report that around 10 p.m. on Monday night, security forces searched the house of a teacher who had joined the civil disobedience movement in downtown Yangon. The security forces reportedly left after finding she was not there. Talk of night arrests has been circulating among protesters since the coup.

1:20 a.m. The European Union is ready “ready to adopt restrictive measures” targeting leaders of the Myanmar coup, the Council of the EU said in a statement.

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“At the same time, the EU will continue reviewing all its policy tools as the situation evolves, including its policy on development cooperation and its trade preferences,” the statement says.

EU nation foreign ministers meeting today have decided on a “set of targeted” measures in response to the coup, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell tells reporters, but he stopped short of endorsing a cancellation of the preferential tariff treatment that has benefited manufacturers in low-cost Myanmar.

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Monday, Feb. 22

11:00 p.m. Britain’s minister for Asia has summoned Myanmar’s ambassador to the U.K. for a second time this month and condemned the military’s actions against demonstrators.

Nigel Adams tells Kyaw Zwar Minn “the use of violence and force against protesters, which has already led to death and serious injury, was completely reprehensible and must stop,” according to a statement by a Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office spokesperson.

This marks the latest instance of British pressure on the Myanmar military for its Feb. 1 coup and subsequent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations.

Adams said the U.K. will “maintain the international spotlight on human rights violations and use all diplomatic levers available,” according to the spokesperson.

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Demonstrators hold placards as they take part in a protest against the military coup in Yangon on Feb. 22. (Photo by Yan Naing Aung)

10:30 p.m. “The military must step aside,” Foreign Minister Dominic Raab tells the Human Rights Council. “Civilian leaders must be released. And the democratic wishes of the people of Myanmar must be respected.”

Raab says the U.K. will co-sponsor a resolution to renew mandate of the U.N. special rapporteur on Myanmar.

Speaking at the same council session, Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein does not mention the deportation issue but says his country will “continue robust advocacy for the rights of peoples who have long been subjected to human rights abuses, such as the Rohingyas.”

9:10 p.m. The Malaysian arms of human rights groups Amnesty International and Asylum Access have filed a judicial review in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to block plans to deport 1,2000 back to Myanmar in cooperation with the Myanmar military.

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“This effort to halt the deportation is based on information from refugee groups evidently indicating that asylum seekers and refugees are among the individuals being sent to Myanmar,” said Katrina Jorene Maliamauv, executive director of Amnesty International Malaysia, in a joint statement. “There are also reports that those due to be deported include children in detention with at least one parent still in Malaysia. Separating children from their parents is an extremely inhuman practice that places these minors at grave risk and goes against the best interest of the child.”

“We believe the three UNHCR document holders have a legitimate expectation that they would not be sent to Myanmar, and deporting them would be in violation of their rights and in clear breach of the non-refoulement principle that the Malaysian government is bound by,” added Tham Hui Ying, executive director of Asylum Access Malaysia.

Malaysia has given assurances that it will not deport members of the Rohingya Muslim minority or refugees registered with the UNHCR.

3:21 p.m. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls on Myanmar’s military to halt repression and release hundreds of people detained since the coup on Feb. 1, Reuters reports.

“We see the undermining of democracy, the use of brutal force, arbitrary arrests, repression in all its manifestations,” he says Monday while addressing the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. “Restrictions of civic space. Attacks on civil society. Serious violations against minorities with no accountability, including what has rightly been called ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population. The list goes on.”

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“Today, I call on the Myanmar military to stop the repression immediately. Release the prisoners. End the violence. Respect human rights and the will of the people expressed in recent elections,” he says.

3:20 p.m. The European Union is considering imposing sanctions on Myanmar as a last resort following the coup and crackdown on protesters, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tells reporters ahead of a meeting with his EU counterparts Monday morning.

“We are not prepared to stand by and watch,” Maas says upon his arrival in Brussels. “We will use all diplomatic channels to push for a de-escalation in Myanmar but at the same time, as a last resort, prepare sanctions on the military regime in Myanmar.”


Anti-coup protesters in Myanmar pack the streets as they gather near Mandalay Railway Station on Feb. 22. 

  © AP

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1:30 p.m. More people join the demonstrations in Yangon. “We are not afraid of the armed forces at all, but we have no weapons,” says a salesman on Sule Pagoda Road. “We are protesting here peacefully, and they cannot shoot us. I am excited — today’s protest is the biggest I have seen in my entire life.”

Outside Sakura Tower, protesters experience both excitement and concern. “We must be involved, but we are also fearful,” says a 27-year-old civil engineer. “I don’t think they will shoot because of all the media, international organizations and embassies watching the situation.”

“We have some fear, but we are fighting dictatorship,” a 22-year-old university student says at a sit-in protest outside Sakura Tower. “We will fight for democracy in our country until we achieve it. We are very excited that our generation is fighting for justice.”

“We are now guarding the students’ rally, for their safety. We don’t want any harm done to them — lives matter,” says Linn Mg Mg Swe, a 25-year-old student and biker. “Generations are different. I think 22222 is better than the 8888 uprising as we have better strategies. We will win this revolution.”

Mon Mon, 35, is another among the protesters. “In 1988, I was just 3 years old,” she says. “I experienced the Saffron Revolution, but I didn’t participate because it didn’t interest me. But now I’m out on the streets because I can’t accept this kind of injustice and unfairness in our country. For now, I feel like I’m dutiful to my country because of taking part in this protest. If I was not in here, I would be feeling guilty.”

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People take to the street in Yangon in response to the killings in Mandalay during the weekend.  

8:00 a.m. A massive demonstration against the military coup begins. General strikes have been called via social networking services. Large supermarkets and factories are temporarily closed. The gathering is expected to be one of the largest demonstrations since the coup.

In Yangon, crowds gather on the main street in the center of the city to complain about the tyranny of the military. Although the authorities have banned groups of more than five people, many citizens have ignored the order and are taking part in the demonstration. “The police are scary, but we are doing this to restore a democratic system,” a 25-year-old man says in front of the United Nations office.

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The military deploys riot police in front of U.S. and Chinese embassies and U.N. offices, where many demonstrators have gathered, and block roads around the area.

On Saturday, security forces opened fire on a protest in Mandalay, the second-largest city in the country. Two demonstrators were killed when police and soldiers fired into a crowd to disperse protesters, sparking even higher tensions.

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Activists called for a major protest on Monday to mourn the dead, dubbing it “22222” after the date, Feb. 22. The number is an allusion to 8888 — Aug. 8, 1988 — the date a pro-democracy uprising kicked off nearly 33 years ago, which ended up a bloodbath.


People gather near the United Nations office in Yangon on Feb. 22.

1:50 a.m. The European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council, made up of member states’ foreign ministers, is scheduled to meet on Monday. The situation in Myanmar will likely be on the agenda. A key question is to what extent ministers will discuss proposals for sanctions, including the possibility of reviewing preferential tariff treatment for Myanmar.

These preferences, introduced after the country’s shift to civilian rule in the early 2010s, have fueled the growth of Myanmar’s garment and apparel exports. Monday’s meeting is likely to coincide with more large-scale protests in Myanmar.

Sunday, Feb. 21

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11:30 p.m. Some scenes from Yangon, where protestors held a candlelight vigil against the coup.

11:00 p.m. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reports that 640 people in Myanmar have been arrested, charged or sentenced since the Feb. 1 coup.

1:30 p.m. City Mart, a leading supermarket chain, announces its stores will be closed on Monday and reopen on Tuesday.

1:00 p.m. The funeral of Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, the young woman shot in the head by police, ends in Naypyitaw, the capital.

12:00 p.m. Activists call for a major protest on Monday to mourn the dead. They dub it 22222 based on the date, Feb. 22. The number is an allusion to 8888 — Aug. 8, 1988 — the date a six-week mass pro-democracy uprising kicked off nearly 33 years ago.

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9:40 a.m. Police have arrested Lu Min, a famous actor wanted for supporting opposition to a Feb. 1 coup, his wife announces. The army said on Wednesday the celebrity was wanted under an anti-incitement law for encouraging civil servants to join protests. The charges can carry a two-year prison sentence. His wife, Khin Sabai Oo, said in a video posted on his Facebook page that police had come to their home in Yangon and taken him away.

9:34 a.m. Facebook removes military’s main page under its policy of prohibiting the incitement of violence, the company said. “In line with our global policies, we’ve removed the Tatmadaw True News Information Team Page from Facebook for repeated violations of our Community Standards prohibiting incitement of violence and coordinating harm,” a Facebook representative said in a statement. The Myanmar military is known as the Tatmadaw.

9:30 a.m. Medical staff prepare for emergencies in Yangon. One says: “We are here to save the lives of people.”

5:32 a.m. The United States is “deeply concerned” by reports that Myanmar security forces have fired on protesters and continue to detain and harass demonstrators and others, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in tweet.

“We stand with the people of Burma,” Price tweeted. Myanmar is also known as Burma.

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Saturday, Feb. 20

11:55 p.m. The U.K. will consider further action against those involved in violence in Myanmar against people protesting the coup, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab says, after two people were killed when police and soldiers fired to disperse protests.

“The shooting of peaceful protesters in Myanmar is beyond the pale. We will consider further action, with our international partners, against those crushing democracy & choking dissent,” Raab says in a tweet.

Britain imposed sanctions on three Myanmar generals on Thursday, accusing them of serious human rights violations following the coup.

8:48 p.m. Singapore expresses its dismay at reports of civilian casualties following the use of lethal force by security forces against demonstrators.

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“The use of lethal weapons against unarmed civilians is inexcusable,” the Foreign Ministry says in a statement. Two people were killed in Myanmar’s second city Mandalay when police fired to disperse people protesting against the Feb. 1 military coup there, the bloodiest day in more than two weeks of demonstrations.

Singapore has been the largest source of foreign investment into Myanmar in recent years. “We strongly urge the security forces to exercise utmost restraint to avoid further injuries and loss of lives, and take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation and restore calm,” Singapore’s Foreign Ministry says.

6:35 p.m. Two people were killed in Myanmar’s second city Mandalay when police fired to disperse protesters. “Twenty people were injured and two are dead,” says Ko Aung, a leader of the Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service agency in the city.

A volunteer doctor confirms there had been two deaths: “One shot in the head died at the spot. Another one died later with a bullet wound to the chest.”

3:00 p.m. The older sister of Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, the 20-year-old woman who was killed during the protests, says her funeral will be held on Sunday in the capital, Naypyitaw. “I really want the international community to help our country, rather than just watching, she said.

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12:00 p.m. Protesters gather outside the Chinese Embassy in Yangon for a moment of silence to mourn a 20-year-old protester who was killed during demonstrations on Friday. “She was young and had a lot of opportunities, but now everything had been destroyed. The military is just [staying power with] weapons, and it keeps threatening us,” said one male protester.

11:35 p.m. Railway staff march in Yangon and show support for the civil disobedience campaign in Myanmar.

11:00 a.m. Ethnic groups protest in a show of opposition to the coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi, despite some misgivings about her commitment to their aspirations for autonomy, community representatives said. “We can’t form a federal country under dictatorship. We can’t accept the junta,” Ke Jung, a youth leader from the Naga minority told Reuters.

3:20 a.m. U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price offers condolences on the death of a protester in Myanmar “We are saddened to see media reports that a protester shot by police in Naypyidaw on February 9 has died, marking the first reported death … as a result of security forces response to the protests,” Price said.

“We applaud yesterday’s announcement of sanctions by the United Kingdom and Canada against the Burmese military leaders responsible for the coup,” Price also says, adding that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had discussed with Australian, Indian and Japanese counterparts “the urgent need to restore the democratically elected government in Burma.”

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FACEBOOK

Meet the Developers – Linux Kernel Team (David Vernet)

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Credit: Larry Ewing (lewing@isc.tamu.edu) and The GIMP for the original design of Tux the penguin.

Intro

For today’s interview, we have David Vernet, a core systems engineer on the Kernel team at Meta. He works on the BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter) and the Linux kernel scheduler. This series highlights Meta Software Engineers who contribute to the Linux kernel. The Meta Linux Kernel team works with the broader Linux community to add new features to the kernel and makes sure that the kernel works well in Meta production data centers. Engineers on the team work with peers in the industry to make the kernel better for Meta’s workloads and to make Linux better for everyone.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a systems engineer who’s spent a good chunk of his career in the kernel space, and some time in the user-space as well working on a microkernel. Right now, I’m focusing most of my time on BPF and the Linux kernel scheduler.

I started my career as a web developer after getting a degree in math. After going to grad school, I realized that I was happiest when hacking on low-level systems and figuring out how computers work.

As a kernel developer at Meta, what does your typical day look like?

I’m not a maintainer of any subsystems in the kernel, so my typical day is filled with almost exclusively coding and engineering. That being said, participating in the upstream Linux kernel community is one of the coolest parts of being on the kernel team, so I still spend some time reading over upstream discussions. A typical day goes something like this:

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  1. Read over some of the discussions taking place on various upstream lists, such as BPF and mm. I usually spend about 30-60 minutes or so per day on this, though it depends on the day.

  2. Hack on the project that I’m working on. Lately, that’s adding a user-space ringbuffer map type to BPF.

  3. Work on drafting an article for lwn.net.

What have you been excited about or incredibly proud of lately?

I recently submitted a patch-set to enable a new map type in BPF. This allows user-space to publish messages to BPF programs in the kernel over the ringbuffer. This map type is exciting because it sets the stage to enable frameworks for user-space to drive logic in BPF programs in a performant way.

Is there something especially exciting about being a kernel developer at a company like Meta?

The Meta kernel team has a strong upstream-first culture. Bug fixes that we find in our Meta kernel, and features that we’d like to add, are almost always first submitted to the upstream kernel, and then they are backported to our internal kernel.

Do you have a favorite part of the kernel dev life cycle?

I enjoy architecting and designing APIs. Kernel code can never crash and needs to be able to run forever. I find it gratifying to architect systems in the kernel that make it easy to reason about correctness and robustness and provide intuitive APIs that make it easy for other parts of the kernel to use your code.

I also enjoy iterating with the upstream community. It’s great that your patches have a whole community of people looking at them to help you find bugs in your code and suggest improvements that you may never have considered on your own. A lot of people find this process to be cumbersome, but I find that it’s a small price to pay for what you get out of it.

Tell us a bit about the topic you presented at the Linux Plumbers Conference this year.

We presented the live patch feature in the Linux kernel, describing how we have utilized it at Meta and how our hyper-scale has shown some unique challenges with the feature.

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What are some of the misconceptions about kernel or open source software development that you have encountered in your career?

The biggest misconception is that it’s an exclusive, invite-only club to contribute to the Linux kernel. You certainly must understand operating systems to be an effective contributor and be ready to receive constructive criticism when there is scope for improvement in your code. Still, the community always welcomes people who come in with an open mind and want to contribute.

What resources are helpful in getting started in kernel development?

There is a lot of information out there that people have written on how to get integrated into the Linux kernel community. I wrote a blog post on how to get plugged into Linux kernel upstream mailing list discussions, and another on how to submit your first patch. There is also a video on writing and submitting your first Linux kernel patch from Greg Kroah-Hartman.

In terms of resources to learn about the kernel itself, there are many resources and books, such as:

Where can people find you and follow your work?

I have a blog where I talk about my experiences as a systems engineer: https://www.bytelab.codes/. I publish articles that range from topics that are totally newcomer friendly to more advanced topics that discuss kernel code in more detail. Feel free to check it out and let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to discuss.

To learn more about Meta Open Source, visit our open source site, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

First seen at developers.facebook.com

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Get started with WhatsApp Business Platform in Minutes with Postman

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Our collaboration brings tools you already use to WhatsApp Business Platforms APIs

Postman is a best-in-class API platform used by 20M developers worldwide. Using Postman simplifies each step of the API lifecycle and streamlines collaboration.

Postman’s strong platform and broad adoption in the developer community made deciding to work with Postman to deliver a robust developer experience an easy decision for our WhatsApp Business Platform product team.

What Postman means for your WhatsApp projects

The benefits of this collaboration for developers are clear – you can easily leverage Postman’s platform with your Meta projects to onboard, collaborate, and contribute towards documentation and best practices as you build out your integrations.

Fast Onboarding

The WhatsApp team is able to offer, via Postman, an API collection that pre-fills environment variables and walks you through your initial test requests – helping developers dive right in to using the Cloud API. Our product managers show you how easy it is to get started with Postman in this session from Conversations:

Foster Collaboration

The public Postman workspace fosters collaboration – allowing environments, collections, and documentation augmentation to happen in one place.

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Enhance Documentation

Postman’s API documentation tools augment our own documentation and allows developers to contribute directly to the community’s shared knowledge, building a strong reference library for all developers and encouraging new, innovative use cases.

The Results

Working with Postman from the beginning helps create a developer-friendly experience for the WhatsApp Business Platform – allowing you to get started quickly, build community, and share knowledge.

Want to know more about our partnership with Postman? Check out their case study, follow along with the video above, or dive right into the Postman Workspace for the WhatsApp Business Platform.

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1. https://www.postman.com/state-of-api/

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Summer of open source: building more efficient AI with PyTorch

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Note: Special thanks to Less Wright, Partner Engineer, Meta AI, for review of and additional insights into the post.

This post on creating efficient artificial intelligence (AI) is the second in the “Summer of open source” series. This series aims to provide a handful of useful resources and learning content in areas where open source projects are creating impact across Meta and beyond. Follow along as we explore other areas where Meta Open Source is moving the industry forward by sharing innovative, scalable tools.

PyTorch: from foundational technology to foundation

Since its initial release in 2016, PyTorch has been widely used in the deep learning community, and its roots in research are now consistently expanding for use in production scenarios. In an exciting time for machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), where novel methods and use cases for AI models continue to expand, PyTorch has reached the next chapter in its history as it moves to the newly established, independent PyTorch Foundation under the Linux Foundation umbrella. The foundation is made up of a diverse governing board including representatives from AMD, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Nvidia, and the board is intended to expand over time. The mission includes driving adoption of AI tooling through vendor-neutral projects and making open source tools, libraries and other components accessible to everyone. The move to the foundation will also enable PyTorch and its open source community to continue to accelerate the path from prototyping to production for AI and ML.

Streamlining AI processes with Meta open source

PyTorch is a great example of the power of open source. As one of the early open source deep learning frameworks, PyTorch has allowed people from across disciplines to experiment with deep learning and apply their work in wide-ranging fields. PyTorch supports everything from experiments in search applications to autonomous vehicle development to ground-penetrating radar, and these are only a few of its more recent applications. Pairing a versatile library of AI tools with the open source community unlocks the ability to quickly iterate on and adapt technology at scale for many different uses.

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As AI is being implemented more broadly, models are trending up in size to tackle more complex problems, but this also means that the resources needed to train these models have increased substantially. Fortunately, many folks in the developer community have recognized the need for models to use fewer resources—both from a practical and environmental standpoint. This post will explore why quantization and other types of model compression can be a catalyst for efficient AI.

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Establishing a baseline for using PyTorch

Most of this post explores some intermediate and advanced features of PyTorch. If you are a beginner that is looking to get started, or an expert that is currently using another library, it’s easiest to get started with some basics. Check out the beginner’s guide to PyTorch, which includes an introduction to a complete ML workflow using the Fashion MNIST dataset.

Here are some other resources that you might check out if you’re new to PyTorch:

  • PyTorch Community Stories: Learn how PyTorch is making an impact across different industries like agriculture, education, travel and others
  • PyTorch Beginner Series: Explore a video playlist of fundamental techniques including getting started with tensors, building models, training and inference in PyTorch.

Quantization: Applying time-tested techniques to AI

There are many pathways to making AI more efficient. Codesigning hardware and software to optimize for AI can be highly effective, but bespoke hardware-software solutions take considerable time and resources to develop. Creating faster and smaller architectures is another path to efficiency, but many of these architectures suffer from accuracy loss when compared to larger models, at least for the time being. A simpler approach is to find ways of reducing the resources that are needed to train and serve existing models. In PyTorch, one way to do that is through model compression using quantization.

Quantization is a mathematical technique that has been used to create lossy digital music files and convert analog signals to digital ones. By executing mathematical calculations with reduced precision, quantization allows for significantly higher performance on many hardware platforms. So why use quantization to make AI more efficient? Results show that in certain cases, using this relatively simple technique can result in dramatic speedups (2-4 times) for model inference.

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The parameters that make up a deep learning model are typically decimal numbers in floating point (FP) precision; each parameter requires either 16 bits or 32 bits of memory. When using quantization, numbers are often converted to INT4 or INT8, which occupy only 4 or 8 bits. This reduces how much memory models require. Additionally, chip manufacturers include special arithmetic that makes operations using integers faster than using decimals.

There are 3 methods of quantization that can be used for training models: dynamic, static and quantize-aware training (QAT). A brief overview of the benefits and weaknesses is described in the table below. To learn how to implement each of these in your AI workflows, read the Practical Quantization in PyTorch blog post.

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Quantization Method

Benefits

Weaknesses

Dynamic

  • Easy to use with only one API call
  • More robust to distribution drift resulting in slightly higher accuracy
  • Works well for long short-term memory (LSTM) and Transformer models

Additional overhead in every forward pass

Static (also known as PTQ)

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  • Faster inference than dynamic quantization by eliminating overhead

May need regular recalibration for distribution drift

Quantize-Aware Training (QAT)

  • Higher accuracy than static quantization
  • Faster inference than dynamic

High computational cost

Additional features for speeding up your AI workflow

Quantization isn’t the only way to make PyTorch-powered AI more efficient. Features are updated regularly, and below are a few other ways that PyTorch can improve AI workflows:

  • Inference mode: This mode can be used for writing PyTorch code if you’re only using the code for running inference. Inference mode changes some of the assumptions when working with tensors to speed up inference. By telling PyTorch that you won’t use tensors for certain applications later (in this case, autograd), it adjusts to make code run faster in these specific scenarios.

  • Low precision: Quantization works only at inference time, that is, after you have trained your model. For the training process itself, PyTorch uses AMP, or automatic mixed precision training, to find the best format based on which tensors are used (FP16, FP32 or BF16). Low-precision deep learning in PyTorch has several advantages. It can help lower the size of a model, reduce the memory that is required to train models and decrease the power that is needed to run models. To learn more, check out this tutorial for using AMP with CUDA-capable GPUs.

  • Channels last: When it comes to vision models, NHWC, otherwise known as channels-last, is a faster tensor memory format in PyTorch. Having data stored in the channels-last format accelerates operations in PyTorch. Formatting input tensors as channels-last reduces the overhead that is needed for conversion between different format types, resulting in faster inference.

  • Optimize for inference: This TorchScript prototype implements some generic optimizations that should speed up models in all environments, and it can also prepare models for inference with build-specific settings. Primary use cases include vision models on CPUs (and GPUs) at this point. Since this is a prototype, it’s possible that you may run into issues. Raise an issue that occurs on the PyTorch GitHub repository.

Unlocking new potential in PyTorch

Novel methods for accelerating AI workflows are regularly explored on the PyTorch blog. It’s a great place to keep up with techniques like the recent BetterTransformer, which increases speedup and throughput in Transformer models by up to 2 times for common execution scenarios. If you’re interested in learning how to implement specific features in PyTorch, the recipes page allows you to search by categories like model optimization, distributed training and interpretability. This post is only a sampling of how tools like PyTorch are moving open source and AI forward.

To stay up to date with the latest in Meta Open Source for artificial intelligence and machine learning, visit our open source site, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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