Thailand’s government pressured ISPs in the country to block access to Facebook after the social media giant refused demands from authorities to remove 131 posts, the Bangkok Post reported.
The government says the posts are illegal, with the country’s Criminal Court last week giving Facebook an ultimatum to take down the posts by Tuesday morning or face legal action. The removal order is the latest in a flood of censorship requests issued by the government in recent months.
Facebook reportedly refused to remove many of the supposedly illicit webpages, claiming they do not violate its “community standards”.
The service was still available in Thailand on Tuesday morning an hour after the deadline past.
According to the Post, the Thai Internet Service Provider Association (TISPA) and internet gateway providers last Friday informed the head of Facebook Thailand: “If Thai authorities find any illegal content in our system – particularly the 131 URLs which have not yet been removed – concerned authorities will request that we shut down the CDN [content delivery network] of www.facebook.com and other parts of the network to block such illegal content.”
TISPA said the action could impact the entire delivery services of Facebook to customers in Thailand. The group noted the government doesn’t want to take legal action and is prepared to shut down Facebook, the Post said.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said Facebook had removed 178 of 309 posts identified by authorities as illegal. NBTC secretary general Takorn Tantasith said Facebook cooperated with Thai authorities, but noted that “some issues have not been solved”.
Facebook’s 14.8 million users in Thailand spend an average of 2.35 hours a day on the social media site.