Thai army says no policy to block Facebook

Thai army says no policy to block Facebook

THAILAND - The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) said yesterday that it had no policy to block social media, after there was brief chaos as Facebook faced technical failure at its Internet gateway.

Facebook was not available for 37 minutes after 4pm, but the junta responded quickly by ordering the Information and Communications Technology Ministry to fix the problem at the gateway.

"We had a meeting with Internet service providers [ISPs] and found some technical problems at the gateway. The error has been fixed and the service has resumed," NCPO spokesman Winthai Suvari said in a televised statement.

Surachai Srisaracam, permanent secretary of the ICT Ministry, said the system had gone down because of overuse, but was unable to provide specific information about which gateways had failed. The ministry would meet with ISPs today to figure out the problem.

Meanwhile, many users reacted furiously to the service breakdown, as many of them use Facebook not only for fun but also for work and political comment.

"A 6.1-magnitude quake could not match the chaos when people could not access Facebook for 30 minutes," posted user Insee.

@Hui_Nation, who runs a bakery business via Facebook, said her page was her shop. "I use Facebook to take orders and sell cakes. Why do you shut it down? I use it for earning," she posted.

@EarthCDBD said: "God, are we in China or Thailand?"

Election commissioner and Facebook addict Somchai Srisuthiyakorn posted a poem on his Facebook page shortly after the system resumed, saying that he was "dying" without Facebook.

"A minute disappeared, Thought, I would never see the Face again," he posted. Social media and Web pages have been under close surveillance over the past week, as they are widely used by people to express their political views and sometimes make appointments for activities against the junta.

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