Online battle against Thailand's amnesty bill gains ground

Online battle against Thailand's amnesty bill gains ground

Activities opposing the amnesty bill are widespread throughout social media, paralleling the offline protests.

In one popular form of protest on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, users change their profile pictures.

This has inspired Kunuch Chutmongkolporn, a senior engineering student at Kasetsart University, to develop an application allowing people to customise their profiles by changing the colour, font and wording on the template, as well as allowing users to include comments on the picture. The app can be found at http://against.splendith.com/. It was launched at 9am Tuesday and had over 110,000 downloads as of 4pm yesterday.

This app became the talk of the town among social-media users overnight. The app reached 20,000 downloads within the first 10 hours of its launch, with about seven downloads per second.

Kunuch said he got the idea to develop a service to help people customise their anti-amnesty-bill messages after seeing so many campaigns against the legislation on social media, especially Facebook.

"The political campaigns looked so serious, so I got an idea of how to relieve stress while doing a protest online against the amnesty bill using signs on Facebook," Kunuch said.

His app is easy to use and facilitates all people, even those who have no programming or photo-editing skills. It is designed to facilitate users to just click on the templates provided and select the words "against the amnesty bill", then choose a colour for the sign.

"My idea is to make this app simple. Everybody can use it. It will generate a personalised sign within three minutes," Kunuch said.

He said the feedback has been good, and beyond his expectations. He feels happy that his development has been welcomed by a lot of people.

Apart from the app, whistles have become best-selling products, as they are popular among anti-amnesty protesters.

Whistles huge success

Whistles were sold out at Som-Jai Stationery Store's Siamkit Building branch in Siam Square. Kanya Ampanun, an employee at Som-Jai's Pahurat branch, said the whistle is a very popular product at the moment, selling out at several stores.

At the Pahurat branch, sales of whistles had rapidly increased from just a few a day to many hundred a day.

"Normally, we sell whistles to students or their parents, with only a couple of pieces per order. But now, each order is in the dozens," Kanya said.

Total sales per day amount to several hundred, up from just a handful normally.

Moreover, on social media, people have also been posting photographs of their activities at offline protests, which have been running non-stop in many places throughout Bangkok and some provinces.

Meanwhile, Orawan Chuenwiratsakul, an employee of a private company who loves painting, protested against the amnesty bill with her art. She began doing this to protest the Mae Wong Dam project.

"Some protest with text, some protest with infographics. I would like to share my opposition through paintings. I express my feelings through pictures. I am only one person, but when we join together to oppose the amnesty bill, I really hope that we can stop it," Orawan said.

She also joined in the whistle-blowing at Silom Road on Monday afternoon. She said she would continue to protest through her paintings and by joining the offline protests. She posted protest paintings and pictures of her offline protests on social media.

"Now, I understand a lot more about the duty of citizens," Orawan said.

 

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