Thailand threatens to block Facebook

The video shows the 64-year-old monarch walking through a shopping centre with a woman

Facebook has blocked users in Thailand from watching a video of their king walking around a mall in Germany wearing a crop top.

Last week, when Facebook declined to censor 131 of the 309 pages requested, it was Takorn's commission, through the Thai Internet Service Provider Association, which demanded the California-based company comply with its demands by Monday morning or face legal action.

In a statement on Tuesday, Facebook did not say whether it would now take action as a result of the fine.

Thailand's junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha told reporters on Tuesday some 6,000 web pages have been removed recently by foreign social media platforms and search engines following government requests. Facebook was still accessible in Thailand an hour after Tuesday's deadline.

The Thai Government has backed down on a threat to close Facebook in the kingdom if the company failed to remove pages considered offensive to the monarchy.

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The video, and other content is in violation of the country's lese-majeste laws, which don't allow any criticism of the monarchy.

Facebook has said its general guideline on receiving government requests to remove content is to determine whether the material violates local laws before restricting access. "If we determine that it does, then we make it unavailable in the relevant country or territory and notify people who try to access it why it is restricted", the FB spokesperson said.

Thailand's widely-revered King Bhumipol died previous year after seven decades on the throne and his heir has not yet achieved the same level of respect as his father.

While this is the first-known video of the king dressed that way, he has in the past been photographed wearing a similar crop top and is known for his jetsetting ways.

Recall that the Thai officials said the social networking giant had agreed to expunge such content. Search warrants for Facebook Thailand may also be obtained.

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In 2016, Facebook blocked 50 pieces of content found to have violated the lese majeste law, following government requests.

"They could argue that they are not involved [in removing content], but Facebook Thailand is still operating here".

In 2015, when Facebook set up an office in Thailand, it said 34 million Thais were using Facebook every month, and that they posted three times more than the global average.

Thailand's lèse-majesté laws - which state that any person who "defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent" will face up to 15 years in prison - put Facebook in a hard position.

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