Thailand’s government has threatened to shut down social media colossus Facebook in the country - after it refused demands from authorities to remove posts. Government officials issued a request to Facebook to remove around 131 posts off the popular networking platform claiming the posts were ‘illegal’.
Thailand’s Criminal Court backed the request from the government and ordered Facebook to remove the posts within a week, or they would face subsequent legal action. However, the removal order is the latest in a flood of censorship requests issued by the government in recent months. Facebook have reportedly refused to adhere to the request by government officials saying the alleged illicit webpages do not violate its ‘community standards’.
The service is still currently available, despite the fact that the deadline issued by the Criminal Court has now passed. According to reports emerging from Thailand - the Thai Internet Service Provider Association (TISPA) issued the following statement to the head of Facebook in Thailand. The statement read, “If Thai authorities find any illegal content in our system – particularly the 131 URLs which have not yet been removed – concerned authorities will request that we shut down the CDN [content delivery network] of www.facebook.com and other parts of the network to block such illegal content.”
TISPA further confirmed that if subsequent action is taken then it could impact the entire delivery services of Facebook to customers in the region. In addition to this, TISPA noted that the government doesn’t want to proceed with legal action – but is prepared to shut down the social platform in an effort to reiterate its stance on what it deems as ‘illegal posts’.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said Facebook had removed 178 of 309 posts identified by authorities as illegal. NBTC secretary general Takorn Tantasith said Facebook cooperated with Thai authorities, but noted that “some issues have not been solved”. Facebook’s 14.8 million users in Thailand spend an average of 2.35 hours a day on the social media site.