UPDATE 18:15: Chris Blake of Bloomberg:
Thai ICT minister Surachai says media reports citing him as saying he ordered social media blocked were “a misunderstanding.”
— Chris Blake (@KissBlake) May 28, 2014
BP: A misunderstanding…..
UDPATE 18:05 : In Thai there is a proverb เชือดไก่ให้ลิงดู or in English “Cutting the throat of the chicken in front of the monkey” as it comes at a time when the ICT Ministry is about to meet with Line, YouTube, and Facebook to get them to stop content contrary to orders of the junta.
BP: Warning to all…
Original post below:
In the last couple of hours, Facebook was unavailable for around 30 minutes as per the below tweets:
— เครือข่ายพลเมืองเน็ต (@thainetizen) May 28, 2014
Not just Facebook, but also Instagram (owned by FB):
Not every user had a problem as per this reporter from The Nation:
My Twitter survey on FB access so far: Can’t 79 Can 27 — veena T. (@veen_NT) May 28, 2014
BP: Nevertheless, that means 3/4ths of people had problems accessing Facebook. Given recent comments from senior civil servants about streamlining the blocking of online content and the state of press freedom after the coup, this lead many to suspect that it was a deliberate blocking. This was initially denied
BP: Unaware is the operative word there. Also from The Nation:
Col Sirichan Ngathong, deputy spokeswoman of the NCPO, said the junta assigned the online media monitoring committee of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry investigate why the services were inaccessible. She said the committee found that technical glitch at a main gateway linking Thailand’s Internet to Facebook servers abroad caused the services to be inaccessible in many parts of the country. Sirichan said the ICT committee had held an urgent meeting with the Internet service providers and expected that services would resume before 5 pm.
BP: Good to see the junta was on the job and was organizing a meeting of ISPs and only after that meeting the technical glitch would be fixed… However, the Bangkok Post: Social media users across the country have not been able to access the site since 3pm. According to telecommunications sources, about 30 million Facebook accounts in the country have been blocked. Reuters:
Thailand’s information technology ministry blocked Facebook on Wednesday and planned to hold talks with other social networking sites to stem protests against the military government, a senior official said.
“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.
BP: Spring News then reported that the ICT Permanent Secretary had received an order to block Facebook on an on-and-off again basis as it was a social media network used for creating noise/trend, instigating [events] and causing disorder on the announcement of the NCPO
A Thai PBS reporter said her sources stated that the closing of Facebook was a request for cooperation for 1-2 hours/not permanent and now upon seeing the the response they cannot do so new order to cancel the blocking (แหล่งข่าว”การปิดเฟสฯ เป็นการขอความร่วมมือ ช่วง1-2ชม.เพื่อดูท่าที/ไม่ใช่ตลอด และตอนนี้ เห็นกระแสแล้วว่า เอาไม่อยู่ จึงสั่งใหม่ให้ยกเลิกบล็อก”).
BP: Junta spokesperson went on TV before to say it was a technical problem related to the gateway. The Permanent Secretary also changed his tune:
— Kitty Chirapongse (@gnarlykitty) May 28, 2014
BP: So there is a special Facebook only gateway? The blocking did come just before the end of the work day when there are usually sporadic protests. Harder to organize protests when Facebook is blocked….