Thailand’s government has issued a warning to Facebook over a video of their king seemingly wearing a crop top, with the country threatening to sue the social network after the video was widely shared online.
The video, which emerged in 2016, featured King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, walking in a Munich shopping mall with a woman while wearing the crop top. The footage was circulated worldwide on Facebook, falling foul of Thailand’s strict lese-majeste laws which make it illegal to insult the country’s monarchy, a crime that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Thailand is now looking to pursue legal action against Facebook Thailand, with them having threatened that they would sue the company if the video remained available to view on Facebook by 10am today. According to the Telegraph, Thai authorities have asked Facebook to remove 309 images they had deemed offensive, with 178 having been deleted but 131 remaining accessible in Thailand.
In order to comply with the demands of the Thai government, Facebook has been working to ensure the freedom of the social network while simultaneously complying with local laws. Facebook has geo-blocked the video, though it’s uncertain why various copies of it still exist on the site.
Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission said: “If even a single illicit page remains, we will immediately discuss what legal steps to take against Facebook Thailand.” The Bangkok Post has also reported that an email was sent to Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg last week demanding for the video to be blocked.
It’s uncertain what legal action the Thai government planned to take against Facebook, nor whether the social network managed to delete the offending videos prior to the deadline they were given. However, considering that this was an attempt from the authorities to prevent embarrassing the king and the country’s monarchy, that their efforts to remove the videos from the internet have resulted in an international news story suggest that they’ve been counter-productive.