Facebook's Latest Headache: Video of King in a Crop Top

Content showing tattooed King Maha Vajiralongkorn may violate strict Thai laws
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2017 10:15 AM CDT
Facebook's Latest Headache: Video of King in a Crop Top
Huh.   (Facebook)

Facebook has had a lot on its plate—fake news, its "heartbreaking" Facebook Live problem—but now it's seeing pressure from Thailand on another front: The ruling military junta is upset about content circulating online of the country's new king strolling around a shopping mall wearing a crop top, the New York Times reports. The video, which the Telegraph notes was originally shot in Munich in July 2016, seems to show now-64-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn walking with a woman, wearing a yellow crop top and flaunting his ample body tats. Somsak Jeamteerasakul, a Thai historian and critic now living in France, posted the video to his own Facebook page in April, and in early May he says he received a letter from "Tim" at Facebook, letting him know the company had received a Thai criminal court order telling him the video violated the nation's Computer Crimes Act.

Part of the problem: Jeamteerasakul's post (which he posted alongside pics of Justin Bieber in a crop top) and others like it could be violations of Thailand's lese-majeste laws, which make it illegal to insult or threaten the royal family. Another issue: the military junta, which took over in 2014, seems determined to dump Facebook altogether. TechCrunch notes that even though Facebook still appears operational in Thailand—the government had threatened to shut it down Tuesday if Facebook didn't disable 131 "illicit" posts so Thai users couldn't see them—it temporarily blocked the network once before in 2014, and there've been whispers of plans to institute a "single national internet gateway." A Facebook rep tells the Times it tries to comply with government requests to restrict access when content may flout local laws. (At least the king wasn't wearing a splatter-print male romper.)

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