Facebook continues to operate in Thailand despite missing the Tuesday deadline for removing the insensitive photos and videos relating to the royals. As a result, the social networking website has begun receiving threats of immediate shut down in the country.
The series of events has come following a video of the Thai king wearing a crop top that was shared on Facebook. The government believes that there are posts and videos on Facebook that violate "lese majeste" law, which is considered an insult to the king, queen, and/or heir to the throne.
The government, therefore, warned the company to remove the video along with other insensitive posts related to the royal Thai members by Tuesday morning but it did not take the warning seriously. Though the social networking website has not removed the video and other posts yet, the nationals are still enjoying FB posts and videos.
The Thai Internet Service Provider Association, or TISPA, said that the government has been putting huge pressure on them to shut down all access to Facebook as it did not take down the mentioned posts yet. TISPA communicated with Facebook Thailand's Managing Director via an email on Friday.
"If the relevant Thai authorities find any illegal content from www.facebook.com in our system - particularly the 131 URLs which have not yet been removed - concerned authorities will request that we shut down the CDN of www.facebook.com and other parts of the network to block such illegal content," the email read, as quoted by Nine News. "This action may affect the entire delivery services of www.facebook.com to customers in Thailand."
According to reports, there were almost 309 posts that were considered illegal from the point of view of the monarchism. Facebook removed around 178 posts on Friday, which were counter-signed by the court. TISPA said that the social networking website will not remove any content until it received a proper legal order to do so. It also claimed that the remaining 131 posts out of 309 were still accessible in the nation as FB did not receive any valid court order for their removal.
The published policies of Facebook specify that it will only obey nation's request for the removal of a particular content until it is accompanied by a proper court order.
"When we receive such a request, we review it to determine if it puts us on notice of unlawful content," Facebook told AFP. "If we determine that it does, then we make it unavailable in the relevant country or territory and notify people who try to access it why it is restricted."
A spokesperson from Facebook said that if the Thai government wishes a particular content to be kept hidden, it can make the required request and the company will review it. Instead of imposing threats regarding the accessibility, the government should inform companies like Facebook about the contents that violate their laws. The social networking websites ensure taking relevant steps to restrict access to that content while notifying users regarding the same.
"When we receive such a request, we review it to determine if it puts us on notice of unlawful content. If we determine that it does, then we make it unavailable in the relevant country or territory and notify people who try to access it why it is restricted," the FB spokesperson said.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has seconded having a single internet gateway for the nation so that monitoring cyber activities becomes easier. The National Reform Steering Assembly appointed by the junta called on to the prime minister to use his Section 44 powers on Monday. This was done to ensure the establishment of a cyber committee that would allow the military and other authorities to access a nationwide network without having to have a court's permission.
Thailand is the nation with a maximum number of active social network users across Southeast Asia. They spend almost 2.35 hours per day on Facebook.
[Featured Image by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]