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Myanmar blocks Twitter and Instagram

Myanmar further expanded its internet crackdown, ordering a block of Twitter and Instagram days after the country’s military seized power in a coup.

The move comes barely a day after a similar block of Facebook.

On Friday, the Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communications ordered mobile networks and internet service providers in the country to block Twitter and Instagram, according to Norwegian company Telenor, which offers mobile services in the country.

“While the directive has legal basis in Myanmar’s telecommunications law, Telenor Myanmar has challenged the necessity and proportionality of the directive … and highlighted the directive’s contradiction with international human rights law,” the company said in a statement.

NetBlocks, a service that tracks internet disruption and shutdowns worldwide, reported Twitter restrictions across several other networks in Myanmar on Friday.

Twitter said it is “deeply concerned” about the order.

“It undermines the public conversation and the rights of people to make their voices heard,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to CNN Business. “The Open Internet is increasingly under threat around the world. We will continue to advocate to end destructive government-led shutdowns,” the spokesperson added.

A spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram and whose own platform was blocked earlier on Thursday, said in a statement: “Telecom providers in Myanmar have been ordered to permanently block Instagram. We urge authorities to restore connectivity so that people in Myanmar can communicate with family and friends and access important information.”

The escalating crackdown on online services is part of the Myanmar military’s effort to secure its grip on power after deposing the democratically-elected government earlier this week.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto leader, along with President Win Myint and dozens of other senior figures in their National League for Democracy (NLD) were detained in pre-dawn raids Monday. Hours later, the military declared that power had been handed to commander in chief Min Aung Hlaing, in response to unfounded allegations of election fraud. A state of emergency was declared for one year.

Late Wednesday, an arrest warrant was issued for Suu Kyi over unspecified “import and export” offenses, while Win Myint was remanded in custody under the country’s Disaster Management Law, according to an NLD spokesman.

While the dramatic overthrow of Suu Kyi’s government attracted international attention, continued disruptions to internet access and communications mean that many in Myanmar may still be unclear about what is taking place.

— CNN’s Philip Wang, James Griffiths and Helen Regan contributed to this report.

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