Facebook blocks popular Thai anti-monarchy group after government demand

Facebook has blocked the Thai Royalist Marketplace group after the Thai government demanded it. In the country it is forbidden to criticize the king. This is probably the reason for the demand. Facebook wants to take ‘legal steps’ because of the requirement.

Anyone who tries to approach the Royalist Marketplace group within Thailand will, according to Reuters, see that this access has been blocked after a legal request from the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society. The group has more than 1 million members and was founded in April this year by Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a critic of the Thai monarchy. The private group criticized the Thai king and monarchy.

Chachavalpongpun says his group is “part of a democratic process” and a place for “freedom of speech.” The critic claims that by admitting to the Thai government’s demand, Facebook is “cooperating with an authoritarian regime that blocks democracy.” Chachavalpongpun has created a new group, which has gained more than five hundred thousand members within 48 hours.

Facebook indicates that it was ‘forced’ by the Thai government to block the group, but that it wants to legally challenge the claim. The platform says such requests are “ serious, in violation of international human rights and a chilling effect on the possibilities that people have to express themselves’. Earlier in August, Thailand’s Minister for Digital Economy and Society threatened with a fine of nearly $ 5,400 and an additional daily fine of $ 135 if Facebook failed to comply with such judicial removal orders.

For more than a month, according to The Guardian, there have been almost daily protests in Thailand, led by students. The protesters want parliament to be dissolved and the constitution reformed. Some also want the power of the monarchy to be limited.