Thai authorities have threatened Facebook Thailand with legal action unless it removes content deemed “insulting” to the country’s new monarch.
Last week Facebook users in Thailand were blocked from seeing a video of 64-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn walking through a shopping centre wearing a bright yellow crop top and showing off his heaviliy-tattoed torso.
Now the country’s military government, which seized power in 2014, is demanding the company remove all web addresses containing the video or other content defaming, insulting or threatening the monarchy.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission said Facebook had so far failed to take down 131 pages of “illicit” content, out of 309 considered to be breaching Thailand’s strict censorship laws.
Officials have issued a deadline and given Facebook until Tuesday to comply.
Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the commission, told Reuters: “If Facebook still shows content declared illegal by court orders in Thailand, action must be taken against Facebook Thailand.
“They could argue that they are not involved (in removing content), but Facebook Thailand is still operating here.”
He said the Ministry of Digital Economy would file a complaint with police next week to press charges against Facebook Thailand under the Computer Crime Act and commerce ministry regulations
Mr Tantasith also suggested obtaining a search warrant for Facebook Thailand would be a possible step.
Thailand’s telecoms regulator has taken a tough stance against perceived criticism of the monarchy since Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej died on October 13 at the age of 88, after seventy years on the throne.
It has pressured internet service providers to monitor content and block anything inappropriate.
Thailand considers the monarchy to be one of the guiding pillars of Thai society and above criticism or comment.