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Twitter takes down 926 accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army

Caitlin Ashworth

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Twitter takes down 926 accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army | Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Brett Jordan

Twitter suspended 926 accounts that are linked to the Royal Thai Army for violating the social media company’s “platform manipulation” policies. They say the accounts were “amplifying pro-government propaganda” and engaging in behaviour that targeted political opposition figures.

Altogether, Twitter permanently suspended 1,594 accounts from state-linked operations in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Thailand and Russia, the company announced yesterday. Thailand accounts made up the majority.

Twitter says the platform is a place were people can “express themselves freely.” The company’s platform manipulation policy prohibits aggressively or excessively posting or engaging in a way that misleads others or disrupts their experience on the platform.

“Our investigation uncovered a network of accounts partaking in information operations that we can reliably link to the Royal Thai Army (RTA). These accounts were engaging in amplifying pro-RTA and pro-government content, as well as engaging in behaviour targeting prominent political opposition figures.

We are disclosing 926 accounts today and continue to enforce against small-scale activity associated with this network, as we identify it. “

The recent suspension comes during a pro-democracy movement where activists are calling on an end to Thailand’s military-run government and a rewrite of the 2017 Constitution. Some activists who have made posts on Twitter or Facebook critical of the Thai Monarchy have faced charges for violating Thailand’s Computer Crime Act.

The country’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society has even said they will press charges on Twitter and Facebook for failing to block so-called lèse majesté posts after the government warned the social media companies that the posts violate Thai law. They say the posts insult the Thai Monarchy and threaten national security and peace.

Twitter posted on their “Twitter Safety” page saying the company removed accounts from networks affiliated with Iran, Thailand, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and a previously disclosed network from Russia.

  • 104 accounts connected with a campaign in Iran were suspended for artificially amplifying conversations on politically sensitive topics including the Black Lives Matter movement, the death of George Floyd and other racial and social justice issues in the United States.
  • 33 accounts in Saudi Arabia linked to the Saudi government were suspended for impersonating key Qatari political figures and for attempting to sway political conversations.
  • 526 accounts in Cuba were permanently suspended for fake accounts run by youth organisations with ties to the Cuban government.
  • 5 accounts in Russia were suspended for potential links to the fake news agency PeaceData.

SOURCE: Twitter

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    George Orwell

    Friday, October 9, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    Twitter and freedom of expression is an oxymoron.

    Twitter itself is an ideologically Cultural Marxist platform and systematically censors/shadow bans opposing voices, as does Facebook, YouTube et al.

    They should be either banned or forced to declare themselves a platform (no censorship) or a publisher (can censor).

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, October 9, 2020 at 3:08 pm

    Ah good news. Thais can corrupt in Thailand where they are protected, but abroad they do not have their own way.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 9:39 am

    Ah George Orwell I read all your books.

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Partial lockdowns looming for “high-risk” provinces

Maya Taylor

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Partial lockdowns looming for “high-risk” provinces | Thaiger
PHOTO: Connor Williams on Unsplash

Several high-risk provinces may be heading into partial lockdown in order to bring spiraling Covid-19 infections under control. The Thai government is considering imposing the lockdowns in Bangkok and other central provinces, along with Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and Chon Buri. Yesterday, new infections reached a record daily high since the arrival of the pandemic early last year. 1,335 new cases were reported, only 9 of which were imported.

Meanwhile, Pitakpol Boonyamalik, a public health inspector who oversees a number of southern provinces, is also calling for a lockdown on the southern island of Phuket. Pitakpol says he’s concerned about rising infections in the province, which up until about 10 days ago was preparing for a July re-opening to vaccinated tourists.

“The number of new Covid-19 infections in this health region continues to soar by the day. I must propose that the provincial communicable disease control committee of Phuket, in particular, considers locking down the province after Songkran in order to contain the outbreak situation there.”

Natthapon Nakpanich, chairman of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, says partial lockdown discussions will be held with the Public Health Ministry today. He believes tough restrictions on certain activities in high-risk areas should be enough, insisting the latest outbreak is still under control.

The Bangkok Post reports that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha will hold a virtual CCSA meeting tomorrow, in which the partial lockdown proposal and tougher Covid-19 restrictions will be discussed. Natthapon says several other areas are expected to be designated as “red zones”, with further restrictions being introduced for restaurants and gyms.

“Restaurants might have to close sooner while fitness centres will likely have to limit the number of their patrons at any given time or suspend activities which the ministry considers a Covid-19 risk.”

The Thai Retailers Association and the Thai Shopping Centre Association have issued a joint statement in which they called on members and partners to maximise Covid-19 screening protocols. The TRA and TSCA have also asked their members to close at the earlier time of 9pm from today until further notice.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand News Today | 1,335 new infections, provinces adding travel restrictions | April 14

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Thailand News Today | 1,335 new infections, provinces adding travel restrictions | April 14 | Thaiger

Thailand’s CCSA has announced 1,335 new infections today, after a slight dip in the 13 day surge yesterday. 1,326 of those new infections are local, not imported, and mostly from Bangkok. Today’s tally takes the national total to 35,910 since January 2020 when the first case outside China was detected in Thailand on January 13.

The new infections have mostly emerged in Bangkok with 351 cases. Surrounding provinces report an additional 115 infections today. In other provinces, 877 people.

It’s also been reported today that 36 people are currently in a serious condition and 9 people are on ventilators.

Meanwhile, Prachuap Khiri Khan officials have ordered the closure of “high risk venues” such as pubs, bars, water parks, children’s playgrounds, gyms, cinemas, game shops. The Governor says restaurants can open “but no alcohol can be served”. This includes the seaside town of Hua Hin.

In Krabi there is now a total of 11 infections, 6 new ones yesterday. In Chon Buri, which includes Pattaya, there were 99 new confirmed infections of Covid today … a similar number to the past few days.

Meanwhile 42 out of Thailand’s 77 provinces are now imposing restrictions on entry… either self-quarantine, Covid tests or other requirements. Phichit, Lampang and Ubon Ratchathani are the latest to join the growing list.

At this stage, the various provinces are coming up with their own measures, adding to the general confusion as people travel around the country for Songkran.

Many of the provinces currently require quarantine for people who travelled from the 3 hot zone districts in Bangkok at the centre of the current cluster.

The latest information is being added to this website… moicovid.com but it’s in Thai.

Here’s a list of provinces current imposing restrictions on entry as you travel. You can scroll through if you’re not interested.

NORTH

Chiang Mai

Kamphaeng Phet

Lampang

Lamphun

Nan

Phayao

Phetchabun

Phichit

Phitsanulok

Phrae

Tak

Uttaradit

NORTHEAST

Amnat Charoen

Bung Kan

Buri Ram

Chaiyaphum

Khon Kaen

Maha Sarakham

Mukdahan

Nakhon Phanom

Nakhon Ratchasima

Nong Bua Lam Phu

Nong Khai

Sakon Nakhon

Ubon Ratchathani

Udon Thani

Yasothon

CENTAL AND EAST

Chai Nat

Lop Buri

Nakhon Sawan

Sa Kaeo

Saraburi

Sing Buri

Uthai Thani

SOUTH

Chumphon

Narathiwat

Pattani

Phangnga

Ranong

Satun

Songkhla

Trang

Thailand rang in another Lunar New Year, or Songkran, without its normal noise and celebration yesterday, highlighting the impact that the current Covid outbreak is having. For the 2nd year, the biggest Thai holiday was subdued without water-splashing, parties, and concerts.

There were few official events, compared to the pre-Covid days… Thailand’s Culture Minister led officials in what was called a “New Normal, Preserving Thai Culture” event at Wat Arun in Bangkok.

The temple was open while others were partially closed because of the pandemic. Other normally bustling areas of Bangkok were also silent, as Songkran was cancelled due to what’s being described as a 3rd wave of Covid hitting the country in some media.

Police in Bangkok are on the hunt for the owners of 2 nightclubs considered ground zero for the current clusters currently spreading around the country. The Krystal Club and Emerald Thonglor 13, in the capital’s fashionable Thonglor district, are currently closed. However, officials are now attempting to track down the real owners of both establishments.

Authorities are examining ownership and shareholding documentation related to the 2 venues, after the Bangkok police chief confirmed a cluster of Covid-19 infections is believed to have spread from these clubs. The managers of both venues have been charged with violating the emergency decree and disease prevention regulations.

3 nightlife venues in Phuket, thought to be behind a resurgence of Covid-19 in the southern province have been closed as part of a wider temporary shutdown of nightlife on the island. It is not yet known if the owners will face prosecution.

The Illuzion and Shelter nightclubs in Patong, along with the Café del Mar beach club in Kamala all held big parties during the weekend of April 2- 4, with invited guests travelling from as far as Bangkok.

A top UN official is warning that Myanmar could follow the path of Syria in terms of descending into a bloody civil war, unless the violence subsides. The UN high commissioner for human rights is calling on all countries with influence to apply concerted pressure on the ruling military junta to end its campaign of repression and the slaughtering of its people. She says neighbouring countries are especially being called upon… obviously that includes Thailand.

She says the military has committed, what amounts to, crimes against humanity, and the human rights violations must be stopped.

The country’s armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, attacked civilians last weekend with rocket-propelled grenades and mortar fire, killing at least 82 people. Credible reports also indicate that people are fighting back by using makeshift or primitive weapons with clashes between the military and ethnic armed groups in Kayn, Shan, and Kachin states are picking up steam.

At least 3,080 people currently detained, there are reports that 23 people have been sentenced to death following secret trials

Aung San Suu Kyi has not been seen since her arrest, and is now facing even more trumped up charges that could see her barred from political office or worse. The junta military has been killing innocent civilians and peaceful protesters since the coup began, censoring the media, and shutting down the internet.

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Tokyo Olympics still threatened by Covid-19 100 days out

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Tokyo Olympics still threatened by Covid-19 100 days out | Thaiger
PHOTO: Can the Olympics take place during Covid-19?

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are 100 days away, but with Covid-19 surges, there are still many hurdles to jump. With Coronavirus infections on the rise in many places around the world, and even in Japan, there are debates on if the Olympics can carry on – or even if they should. Japan has seen outbreaks forcing them to retighten recently loosened Covid-19 restrictions. Olympic officials are still optimistic, focusing not on whether or not to have the games, but instead on how to effectively and safely manage a Covid-19 version of the Olympic Games. Procedures have already changed, with foreign spectators being disallowed from attending and increased infections in Tokyo and around Japan may lead to issues with even domestic travellers in the stands for events. A minimalized version of the Olympic torch relay is underway, setting off with a ceremony in Fukushima that did not allow spectators. When the flame passes through Osaka, it will be routed through a park and kept off public roads.

Vaccination may be a helpful path in ensuring the Tokyo Olympics safety. Some national teams have already received jabs and more are expected to in advance of the Games. Vaccination won’t be required for athletes, but the International Olympic Committee will have one of the Chinese Covid-19 vaccines available and encouraged for anyone unvaccinated, especially athletes from countries that may not have access to jabs. Athletes for the most part seem more eager to get back to the spotlight of global competition than they are scared of the Coronavirus.

The IOC may be encouraged by the ongoing Japanese sporting events being held despite Covid-19 in recent months. At these events, fans have become accustomed to following virus safety procedures, even adhering to a ban on cheering. Athletes will be regularly tested with movement limited to Olympic Villiage, but tens of thousands of participants will be allowed to bypass quarantine when entering Japan internationally.

Tokyo 2020 organisers have created a playbook of restrictions and safety measures to quell fears of a public that is still mostly not in favour of the risks of holding the Olympics this summer. In polls, Japanese prefer a postponement of cancellation of the Olympic Games – though an offer from Florida to host didn’t garner much interest – but 27% did say they would like to see the event take place this summer, up from 11% in January. Some wonder, with the subdued atmosphere under strict regulation, if there will even be high demand for tickets to Olympic events. But organisers, citing a history of pre-Olympics criticism for past Games, believe that once the opening ceremony is underway July 23rd, public sentiment will come around and people will be inspired as they always are, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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