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Facebook Blocks Thailand Users Over Insults to Royal Family

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Facebook has blocked access in Thailand to 178 pages with “inappropriate” content, including some containing alleged insults against the royal family, upon the military government’s request, officials said on Thursday.

Media Regulator National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) told newsmen that among 309 Facebook pages ordered shut down by a Thai criminal court, 178 of them have been blocked for local users of late.

Recently, Thailand’s internet providers sent a request to Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg and the company’s managing director in Thailand to block pages and posts deemed in violation of Thai law.

The NBTC has threatened to take legal actions against Facebook in Thailand if the remaining 131 pages are not blocked by coming week.

Thailand’s majesty law prohibits criticism of the royal family, with perpetrators facing up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Facebook did not confirm the number of pages and posts blocked on the Thai government’s request, but said it is making certain content unavailable in the relevant country once it determines that the content violates local laws.

According to the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Thailand’s criminal court has ordered the shutdown of nearly 7,000 “inappropriate” web pages since 2015.

However, around 600 pages remain, with over half on Facebook that the ministry cannot block because they are encrypted, NAN reports.

The junta has launched a crackdown on suspects since it came to power in a May 2014 coup.

According to the International Federation for Human Rights, since then, the number has grown to 105.

Most of the people detained were found to make comments or share posts deemed to insult or defame the monarchy on Facebook.


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