Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong is to meet with Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to discuss monitoring and blocking “inappropriate content,” the Thai government said on Friday.
Juntong and Zuckerberg have arranged to meet on Saturday at the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting in Peru, the government said.
Prajin met Facebook representatives on Thursday in Bangkok to discuss ways of monitoring and blocking “inappropriate content” that is considered to have violated local laws.
The move comes amid an intensifying crackdown in Thailand on royal insults, both online and offline.
Following Thursday’s meeting, Prajin told reporters Facebook would raise the matter at its next company meeting.
Prior to the meeting, Facebook had denied monitoring content in Thailand, according to local newspaper The Nation.
“We have never provided account information or content of any Facebook user to the government of Thailand, nor do we proactively monitor people’s content or conversations for potential violations of local law,” Facebook said in a statement.
The government’s attempts to influence social networks have not been without criticism.
“The government is doing this only to show how loyal they are to the royal institution,” said Sulak Sivaraksa, a prominent social critic. “It [the crackdown] is ridiculous.”
The junta has also sought cooperation from Google and the LINE chat application on the same issue.
LINE confirmed with dpa last month that it did not monitor users’ private chats.
“We do not monitor or block user content. User content is also encrypted, and cannot be viewed by LINE,” a statement sent directly to dpa said.
The Thai government has shut down more than 30 websites per day since the death of king Bhumibol Adulyadej on October 13.
Five people have been charged with committing lese-majesty after allegedly defaming the royal family on social media.
Thailand’s lese-majesty law is one of the toughest in the world. Perpetrators can face up to 15 years in prison.