Nationalist Buddhist monk U Wirathu said he was forced to open a new Facebook page after his account on the social network was hacked and shut down.
On Thursday afternoon, the monk’s page was deactivated. Shortly afterward, a message, purportedly issued by U Wirathu’s organization, began circulating among Burmese Facebook users. It said the monk “will no longer use the social network or hold discussions with those who support or oppose him.”
On Sunday, U Wirathu told The Irrawaddy that he had lost control of his Facebook account and it had been shut down against his wishes.
“That message was false,” he said, adding, “I already created a new account.” The monk’s assistant Ko Thein, said, “His Facebook page was hacked.”
U Wirathu is the public face of the 969 movement, a group of radical Buddhist monks who have been accused of spreading hate speech against Burma’s Muslim minority.
The Mandalay-based monk is keen to gain publicity for his controversial campaign, which includes a proposed bill that would put restrictions on interfaith marriage. He is an avid Facebook user and his account attracted tens of thousands of followers in Burma, where the social network is hugely popular.