Facebook vows legal action after being forced to block Thai anti-royalty group


“Our group is part of a democratization process, it is a space for freedom of expression,” he told Reuters. “By doing this, Facebook is cooperating with the authoritarian regime to obstruct democracy and cultivating authoritarianism in Thailand.”

After careful review, Facebook has determined that we are compelled to restrict access to content which the Thai government has deemed to be illegal. Requests like this are severe, contravene international human rights law, and have a chilling effect on people’s ability to express themselves.

Facebook said it planned a legal challenge. “After careful review, Facebook has determined that we are compelled to restrict access to content which the Thai government has deemed to be illegal,” Facebook said in a statement to TechCrunch. “Requests like this are severe, contravene international human rights law, and have a chilling effect on people’s ability to express themselves.”

Over recent weeks, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets criticizing the military government and royal family. They’re demanding changes to the constitution and abolition of laws that restrict freedom of speech and dictate 15-year prison sentences for defaming the king.

In the past, Facebook has been heavily criticized for not taking action to curtail misinformation, particularly in nations with authoritarian governments. It was accused of allowing hate speech in Myanmar, setting the stage for persecution and genocide against the Rohingyan minority. It has also been criticized for abetting government misinformation in the Philippines and elsewhere.

A Thai spokesperson told Reuters that Facebook complied with its demands (and threats of fines) because it grasped “the context of Thai society.” However, Facebook said in a statement that “excessive government actions like this… undermine our ability to reliably invest in Thailand, including maintaining an office, safeguarding our employees, and directly supporting businesses that rely on Facebook.”