Thailand backs off threat to block Facebook over content

1
1111

Thailand backed off a threat to block Facebook on Tuesday, instead providing the social media site with court orders to remove content that the government deems illegal.

Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission Secretary-General Takorn Tantasith talks to reporters in Bangkok, Tuesday, May 16. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission Secretary-General Takorn Tantasith talks to reporters in Bangkok, Tuesday, May 16. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Thailand made the threat last week as it wanted Facebook to block more than 130 posts it considers a threat to national security or in violation of the country’s lese majeste law.

Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of Thailand’s broadcast regulator, said Facebook had requested the court orders before it would take action but he expected the social media giant would comply with the government’s demands.

“Facebook has already responded that it will comply when we have court orders,” Takorn told reporters.

Emails and calls seeking confirmation from Facebook were not immediately returned.

Last week, the regulator demanded that Facebook remove more than 130 posts by Tuesday or face legal action that could shut down the site. In a change of tactic, Takorn said that Thailand had forwarded 34 court orders to Facebook so far.

“The websites that need to be taken down are not only those that are a threat to stability but they also include other illegal websites such as porn and websites that support human-trafficking which take time to legally determine,” Takorn said.

Facebook, which is blocked in a number of authoritarian countries such as North Korea, has said it relies on local governments to notify the site of information it deems 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.