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Thailand is considering removing Facebook-related accounts from the military

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BANGKOK (AP) – Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ochan says he has instructed the Royal Thai Army to investigate after Facebook removed 185 accounts և groups allegedly involved in an information operation in Thailand , led by the military.

This came a day after Facebook announced that it had deleted 77 accounts, 72 pages, 18 groups և 18 Instagram accounts for violating its policy against government interference, which is defined as unauthorized conduct on behalf of a government agency. :

“Facebook did just that. It can be interpreted in many ways. We need to make that clear, “said Prayut.

About 703,000 accounts followed one or more of these pages, about 100,000 accounts joined at least one of these groups, and about 2,500 people followed one or more Instagram accounts. Facebook said.

Facebook says the network of accounts originated in Thailand and was aimed at indoor audiences in its southern states, where the military is facing a long-running insurgency. The people behind the Behind account used both authentic and fake accounts, placing their content on multiple pages to make it more popular than it once was. Most of the page posts seem to have taken place in 2020.

The Facebook report said that the network mainly posted news in Thai in support of current events, including the Thai military monarchy. Posts included calls for non-violence, regional Covid-19 updates, accusations of insurgent violence in southern Thailand, and criticism of separatist and independent movements.

“Although the people behind it tried to hide their identities and coordination, our investigation found links with the Thai Armed Forces Internal Security Command,” Facebook said.

On Thursday, three activists, including Yingcheep Atchanont, Sarinee Achavanuntakul and Winyu John Wongsurawat, filed a lawsuit in the Bangkok Administrative Court seeking an injunction against the Royal Army. The three said they were targeted in such actions.

They said they planned to contact Facebook հատուկ the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression in an attempt to investigate the army’s intelligence activities against Thai civilians.

“The army has no authority to carry out such intelligence operations,” Yingchip told reporters. “The government should protect the people who want to express their opinion, not create a campaign to attack those who have different views.”

The issue of the army’s information activities arose during the parliamentary debates.

Natasha Bunchayinsavat, a lawmaker from the opposition Move Forward party, accused the army of misusing funds to sow hatred against government critics. The army responded by saying that it was simply training officers for public relations to create a positive image for the army.

In October 2020, Twitter announced that it had uncovered a network of 926 accounts allegedly involved in military intelligence operations. It said the accounts were used to target prominent opposition figures in the Royal Thai Army’s “strengthening pro-government content”.

In addition to Thailand, Facebook said last month that it had discovered և removed attempts by military-linked networks in Myanmar to re-establish a presence on the platform where the military ousted the February 1 coup. Facebook deleted those accounts.

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