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Thailand Initiates Takes Legal Steps Against Facebook, Twitter Over Illegal Content

Thailand Initiates Takes Legal Steps Against Facebook, Twitter Over Illegal Content
In the first move by Thailand in taking legal action against major internet firms, the government of the country initiated legal action on Thursday against Facebook and Twitter over charges that the two companies had ignored repeated requests to take down content that the government perceived as objectionable.
The country’s digital minister, Puttipong Punnakanta, said that after the two social media companies had missed a 15 day deadline to fully comply with court orders issued on August 27 for taking down of content, legal complaints about the same with country’s cybercrime police have been filed by the country’s digital ministry.
Puttipong said that the department took no action against Alphabet's Google as was suggested originally suggested because of the company complied with the court order and had taken down all the videos from its video sharing app YouTube as had been identified in the court order.
"This is the first time we're using the Computer Crime Act to take action against platforms for not complying with court orders," Puttipong told reporters. "Unless the companies send their representatives to negotiate, police can bring criminal cases against them. But if they do, and acknowledge the wrongdoing, we can settle on fines."
In addition to providing no details of the laws that had been violated by the content, the minister also refrained from disclosing the details of the content in question. The minister said that the legal cases that have been filed are against the US parent companies of the apps and not against the Thai subsidiaries of the American companies.
Puttipong said that more such takedown requests to Facebook, Twitter, and Google would be filed by the ministry. The social media platforms will be asked to remove more than 3,000 items from their platforms. the contents, according ot the minister, range from being pornographic in nature to some that criticizes the monarchy of the country.
No comments on the issue ere available from Twitter Facebook and Google.
In Thailand, insulting the monarchy is prevented by a tough lese majeste law. Previously in the country, online criticisms of the royal family have been prosecuted by action taken under the Computer Crime Act, which makes it illegal in Thailand to upload information that is false or affects national security.
Courts have been approached by government authorities in recent years with seeking the courts to order social media platforms to restrict or remove content that is perceived to be insulting for the royal family as well other illegal content such the ones on gambling or copyright violations.
Under the Act, ignoring a court order can result in a fine of up to 200,000 baht ($6,347), then 5,000 baht ($159) per day until the order is observed.
Cybercrime complains were also separately filed by the ministry against five people who, according to the allegations of the ministry, had posted content that were critical of the monarchy. Puttipong said that these content were posted on social media platforms Facebook and Twitter during a major anti-government demonstration at the weekend.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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