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Facebook stays online in Thailand -- for now

There is no immediate plan to block the social network.
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NurPhoto via Getty Images

Last week, Thailand's government told Facebook that it had to take down 131 web addresses the country saw as threatening state security or insulting to its king, Maha Vajiralongkorn. There was an understandable groundswell of concern that Thailand would block Facebook if the social network did not comply. Today, however, the secretary-general of Thailand's telecom commission, Takorn Tantasith, told reporters that there is no immediate plan to block access to Facebook. "Facebook has cooperated well in terms of taking steps to block the URLs that we asked them to in the past," he said.

Thailand has blocked Facebook in the past, of course, and has jailed people for insulting their monarch. It's hard to avoid, however, when there's video of the king wearing a yellow crop top while strolling around Munich with his mistress. In addition to enforcing strict lèse-majesté laws, the current regime has ramped up online censorship since it took power in 2014, and has since blocked sales of video games it deems offensive as well as a ban on bitcoin.

The current request for blocking access via Facebook in Thailand had a deadline of Tuesday, but the sites are still accessible within the country, according to the president of the Thai Internet Service Provider Association, Morakot Kulthamyothin.

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