Blocking social media is never a good idea

Blocking social media is never a good idea

The Junta's online content monitoring panel has announced it will seek cooperation from social media companies to block access in Thailand to Facebook pages, Line groups and YouTube videos deemed to have inappropriate content.

Special attention will be given to social media tools that could violate the lese majeste law and endanger national security.

The move is aimed at curbing content that defies the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)'s 12th, 17th, and 18th announcements. These orders stipulated that online operators must remove messages deemed as provocative, an incitement to violence, critical of military leaders, and likely to cause misunderstanding among the public or disturb peace and order. The junta's orders also made it clear that insulting the monarchy on social media was unacceptable.

The fact that the junta is seeking such cooperation, along with the outcry among Thailand's legion of Facebook users when the website briefly became unavailable on Wednesday, once again reflected the massive influence of social media on modern Thai society.

According to the magazine Positioning, 28 million Thais (41.9 per cent of population) use Facebook. Out of that number, 85 per cent are active users.

Popular activities include posting images, checking-in to display location, posting links and making status updates.

The NCPO bans the use of social media to undertake political provocation. It is among the conditions for those summoned and subsequently freed by the NCPO.

After being released on Wednesday, United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) chairman Jatuporn Prompan posted the message that he had reached home safely and thanked his supporters for their moral support.

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