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Facebook is still up and running in Thailand after the government threatened to shut it down

The social network is facing off against the Thai government over 131 posts deemed illegal by the country’s Digital Economy and Society Ministry. Many of the posts are said to violate Thailand’s strict lèse-majesté law, which makes it illegal to insult members of the monarchy. As the Bangkok Post reported, the government gave Facebook a deadline of today to remove the offending posts or risk being shut down. Well, Facebook is still up, and now the ministry is reportedly saying it’s giving Facebook extra time because the company hasn’t had a chance to review some of the court orders yet. Facebook is used by more than 34 million people in Thailand.

Some free-speech advocates in Thailand say the government’s strong-arm attempts to clamp down on social media insults are having the exact opposite of their intended effect. Rather than squelching speech, they are, in fact, bringing more global awareness to the plight of Thai social media users who live under the fear of repercussions from the government. An op-ed in the BP yesterday cited the face-off as an example of the “Streisand Effect,” describing the phenomenon whereby information spreads more quickly as a direct result of efforts to censor it. Read the full post here.


[Photo: Flickr user Anthony Quintano]CZ