In a stern warning to Facebook, Thailand authorities have asked the social media giant to take down content critical or against the monarchy or face legal action.The social media giant has been given until next Tuesday to remove more than 130 items from pages viewable in Thailand, the BBC reported on Friday.Facebook has agreed to consider the requests from the authorities and comply if it breaks Thai laws.According to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, Facebook has already co-operated in blocking some pages, but that more than 130 pages judged to be illegal remained visible in Thailand.
Under Thailand’s stringent lese-majeste laws that are intended to protect the most senior members of Thailand’s royal family from insult or threat, any comment critical of the monarchy can land a person in trouble and a long prison sentence.Since 2004, when Thailand’s military government seized power, there have been tremendous efforts to suppress any criticism of the monarchy.
As part of these efforts, the authorities have blocked thousands of websites and arrested people who shared or merely liked a Facebook post that was critical of the monarchy.This is not happening for the first time in Thailand though. Last year, the authorities said Google had agreed to remove online content that they deemed insulting the monarchy.
“When we are notified of content that is illegal through official processes, we will restrict it in the country where it’s illegal after a thorough review,” Google had said at that time.