Facebook gets legal threats from Thailand over e-censorship

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NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images

Thailand’s internet has become increasingly censored in recent years, and now the country is threatening Facebook.

The social media giant has been ordered by Thai authorities to remove all posts deemed illegal in the country by next Tuesday, failing which legal action will be taken, reports Bangkok Post. The order came from Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DE).

The popular social networking platform was requested by the Thai Internet Service Provider Association (TISPA) to block 600 pages last Thursday, of which 309 are blacklisted by the Criminal Court. While TISPA noted yesterday that most of these pages have been removed, 131 remain accessible in the country.

The move comes as part of the country’s tightening grip on cyberspace. Thailand has been ramping up control of content posted online and began a new campaign last month to clamp down on websites with content it considers undesirable.

Freedom House noted the country has been restricting freedom on the internet over the last few years and highlighted its net status as “Not Free” in 2016, eventually prompting censorship concerns. In December last year, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha shrugged off the concerns, saying this is meant to fight “those who violate the law.”

Facebook is perhaps Thailand’s most popular social networking platform — a Thai artist engraved its logo onto a statue dedicated to the country’s late king last month, only to have had to remove it following protests from the ground.

Thai authorities did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for comments.

Facebook declined to comment.

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