Burmese influencer Han Nain O rose to prominence in 2020 by posting memes and gossip about Burmese celebrities on Facebook to an audience that grew to several hundred thousand people in Myanmar by early 2021. Then, after the military seized power in the country in February, he swung to the right, becoming a full-blooded supporter of the junta, which has more than 1,500 people died and arrested thousands more during a bloody crackdown.

He was soon banned from Facebook for violating its terms of service, so he switched to Telegram, an encrypted messaging app and social sharing platform. There, he posted messages of support for the military, naturalistic pictures of killed civilians, and fake pornographic pictures of female opposition fighters. They were often published on other channels run by a network of pro-junta influencers and reached tens of thousands of users.

This year, Han Nain Oh has moved to more direct threats. Opponents of the junta planned to mark the anniversary of the coup on February 1 with a “silent strike”, closing businesses and staying at home to leave the streets deserted. On his Telegram channel, Han Nain Oo went on a rampage, asking his followers to send him pictures of shops and businesses that were planning to close. They listened, and he began posting images and addresses to his 100,000 followers. Dozens of premises were passed by the police. Han Nyein Oo requested a loan. He did not respond to a request for comment.

“It was the beginning of the doxxing campaign,” says Wai Phyo Myint, a Burmese digital rights activist. “Since then, there has been an escalation.”

Over the past eight months, the Telegram channels of Han Nain Oh and other coup supporters, including self-styled journalist Tazin Oh and influencers Chiaw Swar and Sergeant Pho Si, have denounced hundreds of people they accuse of supporting the resistance. movement, from famous celebrities to small business owners and students. After that, dozens were arrested or was killed by violence.

Han Nain Oa’s channel was shut down in March after it was reported to have violated Telegram’s pornography rules, but it launched a new one a few days later. He now has over 70,000 followers.

Telegram’s doxing problem goes far beyond Myanmar. WIRED spoke to activists and experts in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe who said the platform ignored their warnings about an epidemic of politically motivated doxxing, allowing dangerous content to spread, leading to intimidation, violence and death.


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