Hey, Degen here.
It’s been an interesting start to the week in Thailand. Although Thai media reports have largely focused on the country’s mass vaccine rollout that started on Monday, the Thai government has recently shown interest in finding ways to regulate social media, as well as those with significant followings.
One of KrASIA’s reporters, Stephanie, wrote about Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha’s instructions to his cabinet to study how other countries clamp down on their citizens’ social media activity. Notably, the PM pointed to India as an example to emulate.
What does this mean for the country’s 55 million social media users? It’s difficult to tell as PM Prayuth has yet to make any definitive decisions, but for a country intent on smothering dissent on the street, in print, and expressed in pixels, it’s not a great sign.
Social media, as a tool, a way to connect, and for many, a place to make money, has come under scrutiny from a number of governments, concerning their addictive algorithms and the content that is allowed to be posted on their platforms.
Like many countries, Thailand has been trying to crack down on online dissent, misinformation, fake news, and online fraud. After looking at what other countries have done, or are currently doing, Thai authorities may just achieve what they say they will.
Over the past several days, numerous people have posted online about Facebook no longer translating comments into or from Thai. With no comment from the social media giant or the government, perhaps this is just the start of what will come.
While the Thai government explores new possibilities in social media regulation, it will be interesting to see how people react as well as what constraints the Thai government will choose to enforce on its otherwise semi-restricted internet.
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