Thailand trumps UK in Facebook jailing

28 Nov 2011

Anyone outraged by the jailing of UK Facebook users for trying to organize riots on the site should be glad they don’t live in Thailand, where the public is being warned against even visiting anti-monarchist pages let alone organizing a revolution.

The latest would-be UK rioter was sent down mid-November, with the judge claiming the four year sentence should act as a deterrent to anyone else considering using social media to incite rioting, the BBC reported.

A decision by the appeals court against reviewing ten convictions in October cemented the view that the UK justice system was trying to send a message with some severe prison terms. However, a closer analysis by the BBC revealed that many weren’t jailed at all, or were handed only token prison time.

It’s important to note that all of the accused actually set up Facebook pages encouraging rioting in their town, with some specifying the time and place to meet.

That proactive action makes the case of Thailand stand out even more, as their citizens can be jailed for ‘liking’ anti-royalist comments and pages on the social network. ICT minister Anudith Nakornthap warns that even those who visit the pages to shout down the message risk breaking the country’s computer crime and strict lese majeste laws, the Bangkok Post reports.

The warning came after both laws were used to sentence a 61 year old man to 20 years prison for sending text messages to former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

As for me, I quit Facebook almost two years ago. I’m suddenly very glad that I did.

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