Facebook Blocks Historian’s Monarchy Post

BANGKOK — Facebook is blocking access to a post about the Thai Royal Family written by an exiled monarchy critic, it emerged earlier this week.

Although users outside Thailand can still access historian Somsak Jeamteerasakul’s post discussing the biography of Dowager Queen Sirikit, users based in the kingdom are told by Facebook they cannot view it due to restrictions by “local laws.”

“You’re unable to view this content because local laws restrict our ability to show it,” the brief notice says.

Read: Govt Bans ‘Any Online Communication’ With Three Monarchy Critics

In the July 17 post, Somsak included a 1979 memo addressed to King Rama IX from his chief advisor and former premier, Sanya Dharmasakti. Due to a strict royal defamation law, Khaosod English cannot republish the details in full.

Thai Facebook users report that the social media giant has restricted access to the post since Sunday.

It’s not the first time Somsak’s writings have been censored by Facebook’s “geoblocking” system, which restricts content in certain regions.

Another post by Somsak was similarly blocked in 2017. Facebook said it was following a court order filed by Thailand to have the writing removed.

The 61-year-old historian – who has written extensively about the monarchy – fled Thailand shortly after the military seized power five years ago. Like dozens of other political fugitives, Somsak later said he fled the country to avoid prosecution under the lese majeste law. He also cited a drive-by shooting at his residence in 2014.

He is believed to be residing in Paris, where he suffered a stroke in 2018.