Thai govt taking legal action against major social media providers

Pro-democracy students protest at Thammasat University on August 10. More protests were planned Sunday in Bangkok. Photo: AP. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BANGKOK, Sep 24, 2020, Bangkok Post. The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society on Thursday asked technology crime suppression police to prosecute major social media providers for failing to remove all illegal posts they were warned about, Bangkok Post reported.

It also targetted social media users who posted messages offending the royal institution during the anti-government demonstration in Bangkok last weekend.

Buddhipongse Punnakanta, minister of digital economy and society, filed the complaint at the Technology Crime Suppression Division.

He said his ministry had sent warning letters to the operators of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter telling them to block illegal information within 15 days, but they did not fully cooperate.

He said the warnings attached with relevant court orders targetted 661 links on Facebook and 225 of the links were removed.

The ministry did the same for 69 links on Twitter and five of them were removed. Meanwhile, 289 links on YouTube were completely blocked on Wednesday.

“It is the first time in Thailand that the (computer crime) law is exercised to prosecute the service providers. Charges will go to the parent company of all the organisations. The police will use Thai laws because the offences happened in Thailand. I believe the police can do it,” Mr Buddhipongse said.

The minister also asked the police division to prosecute social media users who disseminated the messages that offended the royal institution during the anti-government protest on Sept 19 and 20.

Mr Buddhipongse alleged that five social media users committed sedition and put false information into a computer system.

Two of them were Facebook users, including an administrator of a page, and three others were Twitter users who led demonstrations by students, the minister said.

The complaint was received by Pol Col Siriwat Deepor, deputy commander of the Technology Crime Suppression Division.

He said that social media operators who breach the Computer Crime Act were liable to a fine of 200,000 baht per illegal post, plus a daily fine of 5,000 baht until they were removed.

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