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Facebook, Twitter may face charges for allegedly allowing lèse majesté content

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Standard

Facebook and Twitter could face charges for failing to block so called lèse majesté posts that allegedly violate Thailand’s Computer Crime Act. The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society says the social media platforms were warned about Thailand’s laws regarding content that insults the Thai Monarchy or threatens national security and peace, but failed to remove all the illegal posts.

Letters were sent out to the operators of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube giving them 15 days to take down the illegal posts or charges would be pressed, according to Minister of Digital Economy and Society Buddhipongse Punnakanta. Since not all the posts were removed, the ministry has asked the Technology Crime Suppression Police to step in and prosecute the social media platforms.

The Thai government has been using the blunt tool of “shooting the messenger” in its battle against content deemed disrespectful of the Thai Monarchy under its lèse majesté laws.

“It is the first time in Thailand that the (computer crime) law is exercised to prosecute the service providers. Charges will go to the parent company of all the organisations. The police will use Thai laws because the offences happened in Thailand. I believe the police can do it.”

The minister says Facebook was told to take down 661 posts, but they only removed 225. Twitter was told to remove 69 posts, he says, but only took down 5. YouTube was told to remove 289 posts and all of them were blocked. Social media platforms that violate the Computer Crime Act could face an up to 200,000 baht fine per illegal post and a daily fine of up to 5,000 until the content is removed.

Buddhipongse filed the complaint which also cited nearly 1,000 social media posts that allegedly violate the act. They say the posts offending the Thai Monarchy were made during the pro-democracy protest in Bangkok last weekend.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    patty

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    How can you fine the service providers? That comments may have been made in Thailand but the service providers are not Thai and are not based in Thailand. Maybe they should be going after the OP instead. Hang on, wait a minute, that’s too much work for these lazy bastards

  2. Avatar

    Mike Moore

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    Good luck RTP, you will need it

  3. Avatar

    Sam

    Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    It will go the China way ! Block Facebook and Twitter ! Let’s be clear that’s what Thailand now in affect is!

  4. Avatar

    Mike

    Friday, September 25, 2020 at 8:24 am

    Hilarious! Why do they think their phoney laws apply to foreign companies?

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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