Thailand’s military government has warned Facebook that the company must censor content considered insulting to the country’s monarchy or face legal action.
The BBC reports that Facebook has been given a list of more than 130 posts that must be removed by next Tuesday, claiming that the content violates the kingdom’s lèse-majesté law — draconian legislation ostensibly meant to protect the image of the royal family but which in practice is used to suppress dissent.
Facebook does sometimes agree to block certain content at the request of governments if the materials violate local laws, according to the BBC.
The government has also reportedly asked Google to block offending content. The company said in a statement last year that when notified that content is illegal in a certain country, “we will restrict it in the country where it’s illegal after a thorough review.”
Violators of Thailand’s royal defamation law can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, and complaints can be made by anyone, against anyone, at any time. More than 100 people have arrested on lèse-majesté charges since Thailand’s military seized power in a 2014 coup, according to rights groups.
According to the BBC, Facebook has already begun removing some of the content, though some posts identified by the Thai government are still visible in the country.
The junta has recently tightened its already strong grip on the Internet, blocking thousands of websites and passing new cyber-security laws that legal experts say are susceptible to abuse.
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