Junta seeks compliance from social media firms

BANGKOK • Thailand's military government will try to persuade social media companies Facebook and Line to comply with court orders to remove content that it considers harmful to peace and order, a senior official said yesterday.

The junta-appointed NRSA advisory council plans to meet executives from the two companies in the next three months, council member Pisit Paoin said.

The government has been granted court orders for the removal of content that damages the country or the monarchy or affects peace and order. The companies have rarely complied with such orders.

The firms will be asked to respond quickly to such rulings in future, Major-General Pisit said.

Thailand's junta has faced repeated criticism for what rights groups say is a deepening slide into authoritarianism since the army took power in May 2014.

Its previous attempts to get social media platforms to take down political postings have been largely ineffective, although the country has blocked thousands of websites hosting lese majeste content. The number of people arrested under the laws against criticising the monarchy have also risen sharply.

The Thai representatives of Facebook and technology giant Google could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Thai authorities made a similar request over content on Jan 22 to Google, which owns the YouTube video-sharing platform, said the general.

The authorities have also increasingly cracked down on criticism of the junta.

A former politician from the Puea Thai party of deposed prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was charged on Friday for violating the Computer Crime Act by sharing a video mocking junta leader Prayut Chan o-cha online.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2016, with the headline 'Junta seeks compliance from social media firms'. Print Edition | Subscribe