Thailand backs off threat to block Facebook over content

Thailand backs off threat to block Facebook over content

Thailand backs off threat to block Facebook over content

Thailand's telecoms regulator said last week it would give Facebook Thailand until Tuesday to take down 131 web addresses with content that violated its strict lese majeste (violating majesty, or insulting the ruler) laws or was deemed threatening to national security.

The Thai government has deemed the weird images of its king a threat to national security and said they violate the country's strict "lese majeste" laws.

Facebook continues to operate in Thailand despite missing the Tuesday deadline for removing the insensitive photos and videos relating to the royals.

However, none of the documents had been sent to Facebook yet, added Mr Takorn from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC), which meant the pages were still accessible in Thailand.

"Facebook is HTTPS encrypted, which means it's impossible to censor a single page", said Gennie Gebhart, a researcher at Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"We haven't discussed that action to shut down Facebook", said Morakot Kulthamyothin, president of the Thai Internet Service Provider Association (TISPA).

The country is now ruled by a military Junta that told Facebook in no uncertain terms that it would ban the social networking platform in the country if it did not prevent Thai users from accessing 131 "illicit" posts that were deemed to be insulting to the royal family in one way or the other.

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The action were part of a collaborative approach by the data protection authorities of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Hamburg to carry out investigations on Facebook.

We have a feeling Thai authorities might find it harder to enforce the lese-majeste laws than they did with the last King... "And [it is] a very small number of users that the regime is targeting who have anti-regime views, or in particular, violating lese mageste law are very, very, very few minority compared to the overall size of the number of internet, Facebook users".

In May 2014, days after the military coup, Thailand blocked access to Facebook, with the Information Communications Technology Ministry saying the order came from the military.

It may also be a gauge of how aggressively the junta plans to enforce an existing lèse-majesté law - which makes it a crime to insult the king, the queen or the crown prince - under new leadership.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) continued to be available in Thailand as the deadline set by the government passed.

Digital media expert Aim Sinpeng told SBS World News questions needed to answered about the amount of power the Thai government had over what its citizens saw online.

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