Facebook knocks back PM’s Zuckerberg meeting

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Bangkok — Facebook says its top executives aren’t coming to Thailand, two days after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announced CEO Mark Zuckerberg would meet him this month.

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Facebook said in a one-sentence statement Thursday, “There are no plans currently for any of our senior leaders to visit Thailand.”

Thailand and the social media giant have had a strained relationship this year. Facebook has irked the government by being a platform for critics and in May a regulator threatened to block the popular site.

The PM told reporters Tuesday he was scheduled to meet with Zuckerberg on Oct. 30.

“Please don’t link our meeting to any other issues,” Prayuth said. “To talk and exchange opinions would be better than for us to not meet at all.”

A deputy government spokesman, Weerachon Sukhondhapatipak, said Thursday that the Prime Minister announced the meeting with Zuckerberg to reporters after he was briefed by Thailand’s Board of Investment.

Last December, authorities declared it illegal to exchange information on the internet with three prominent government critics.  An official statement advised all citizens not to follow, contact, share or engage in any other activity that would result in sharing information from the three, who all live outside Thailand.

Facebook, which is blocked in a number of authoritarian countries including China, has said it relies on local governments to notify it of information they deem illegal.

“If, after careful legal review, we find that the content is illegal under local law we restrict it as appropriate and report the restriction in our Government Request Report,” Facebook has said in past statements outlining its policy.