Junta blocks Facebook in the wake of Thailand coup

On 22 May, Thailand's military seized control of the country and detained the prime minister, achieving complete power for itself.

Clearly worried by the rallying power of social media and the web, military leaders are now trying to suppress online communication with site blocking measures.

Facebook and WhatsApp are just two of the sites targeted.

Talking to CNET, a Thailand correspondent discussed the problem, which extends to offline media as well.

"All mass media has been affected," said the anonymous interviewee. "All TV stations now carry the logo of the military administration with the broadcast content.

"Foreign news stations have been taken off the air. Radio must also stick with approved programming. Nothing critical of the coup, junta, or monarchy is allowed."

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Allegedly, ISP blocks are in place on over 200 websites by order of the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Ministry, while Thai junta agents scan chat rooms and forums for brewing dissent.

"The junta is also considering building a 'national gateway' controlled by the government which all service providers will have to channel their traffic through (similar to China's Great Firewall). This would allow them/subsequent administrations to easily monitor and block traffic without having to have to rely on the cooperation of service providers," the source added.

A junta plan to meet with Google and Facebook to discuss censorship measures failed to gain traction. YouTube has acted on civilian government demands before though and may well do again, the source indicated.