Thailand Shuts Down Facebook For Total Of 90 Minutes, Angering Citizens.
Social networking site Facebook blocked temporarily within Thailand during Wednesday afternoon in an attempt by the country’s information technology ministry to try and prevent any anti-army protests from being organized by their own countrymen.
This online censorship follows through with digital television station such as the CNN and BBC being taken off the air within the country as soon as after the military Junta had taken control during a coup nearly a week ago.
The Bangkong post had claimed that a total of 30 million accounts across Thailand were affected by the outage of Facebook, with users unable to access the site for an entire one and a half hours, between the hour of 3pm local time.
Pictures that were posted online have show those who tried to access the site through desktop or by mobile devices, only manage to succeed in receiving an error message: Timed out. Unable to connect to Facebook. Please check your internet connection and try again.”
Sources that were close to the matter had initially claimed that the blockage was a technological glitch, but a ministerial official later told Reuters in an interview, that the action was deliberate.
“We have blocked Facebook temporarily and tomorrow we will call a meeting with other social media, like Twitter and Instagram, to ask for cooperation from them,” Surachai Srisaracam, permanent secretary of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, told Reuters.
“Right now there’s a campaign to ask for people to stage protests against the army so we need to ask for cooperation from social media to help us stop the spread of critical messages about the coup,” he said.
Immediately as the blockage had taken affect, Angry citizens had gathered to the unaffected Twitter to vent their frustration and blame the military.
‘‘Military blocked Facebook. Thailand getting more like China and North K [sic]by the second. SO ANGRY!’’ said @LaureneMuayThai in Bangkok.
‘‘My dear friends abroad, as of 3.45pm Facebook Thailand is blocked,’’ said @iKirbylicious.
Some of the more technological savvy citizens had reported that they were able to access the site by utilizing a virtual private network (VPN) or a proxy, which can conceal the location of a user an make it seem to appear as if they were from a whole different location then they really are.
Fear that this block would continue to spread towards other social networks did not occur, as access to the site had been restored by 4:40 Pm Local time..
‘‘Panic over. Facebook now operating in Thailand. Either a glitch or a show of strength by the junta. Thank god for VPN,’’ said @RichardBarrow, a blogger and social media manager, when access was restored.
With the site finally back online, relieved messages from the citizens began to fill in.
‘‘Let’s get down to brass tacks here: Thailand blocks Facebook, military junta terrified of shirtless selfies,’’ @Daniel–Fletcher joked on Twitter.
The site continues to operate normally as before it had been previously shut down.