Twitter Briefly Suspended Anti-Gov’t Accounts Without Explanation

A screenshot of the suspension notice on Twitter taken on Oct. 6, 2020.
A screenshot of the suspension notice on Twitter taken on Oct. 6, 2020.

BANGKOK — Twitter on Friday suspended three accounts belonging to the pro-democracy activists in Thailand before reactivating them shortly afterwards without giving any explanation.

The accounts belong to the Free Youth Movement, and activists Tattep “Ford” Ruangprapakitseree and Panumas “James” Singprom, which often announce locations for flash protests against PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. They were inaccessible for several hours on Friday morning and went back online in the afternoon, though nearly all of their followers were gone.

The American social media company did not provide any specific reasons for the suspension other than saying that the accounts “violate the Twitter rules.”

But the activist group believes the incident could have been caused by multiple users reporting the accounts en masse as part of a government-sanctioned information campaign, or I.O.


“It is highly possible that all three accounts targeted by I.O. mass reporting!” Free Youth tweeted. “But no matter what the cause was, we have asked Twitter to verify our accounts!”

The Free Youth’s Facebook page also encouraged its supporters to re-follow the accounts on Twitter, which saw the number of followers dropped from 227,000 to around 1,000. Tattep could not be reached for comment as of publication time.


It was not immediately clear whether the suspension was a result of the now-revoked court order to shut down social media platforms operated by the pro-democracy movement.

Digital economy ministry’s spokesman Putchapong Nodthaisong could not be reached for comments as of the publication time.

Apart from Twitter, the Free Youth group has presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Telegram.