The 10 am deadline for Facebook to remove 90-131 URLs (depends who you read) has passed. Facebook is still up and running in Thailand.
The Nation “explains” that the deadline was yet another piece of junta grandstanding (to use a Trumpism). It was a false and empty threat, at least as directed to Facebook.
To be clear, The Nation doesn’t quite say this, but it is the logical conclusion to draw from its reporting. Facebook “had not received official court orders to block the URLs so it could not make them inaccessible in Thailand.”
The deadline was false because the junta did not provide a court order for any of the 131 URLs. It is very well known, including by the junta’s showboat secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, Takorn Tantasith, who still appeared before the media, grandstanding about the media scam he had run.
He “explained” the “authorities had only sent court order No 31 to Facebook without providing details, and the US-based social media giant needs all the details.” He added that the “Digital Economy and Society Ministry will request court orders for all 131 URLs and it will send them to Facebook.”
What was the purpose of the junta’s grandstanding? We think that the military dictatorship was again seeking to threaten those accessing Facebook, warning them, trying to make them less likely to access any sites or pages that might be defined by the junta as “offending” the monarch or monarchy.
Of course, the junta can order up anything it likes from its courts, all of them the junta’s tools. That is Facebook’s problem, and not just for Thailand. Many governments, just like Thailand’s junta, have little legal legitimacy and can get a court order as easily as a takeaway pizza.
This makes Facebook a pawn in the hands of governments, both legitimate and illegitimate.