Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said he has ordered the country’s army to investigate Facebook’s claims after it took down accounts that were allegedly operated by the military to covertly influence public opinion, the Associated Press and the Bangkok Post reported.
According to Reuters, the social media giant recently announced that it had removed 77 accounts, 72 pages, 18 groups, and 18 Instagram accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. Facebook said it traced the operation to the Thai’s military’s Internal Security Operations Command.
“Facebook took action like this. It can be interpreted in many ways. We must make it clear,” said Prayuth, according to the AP. The Thai PM is an ex-general who led the military junta that formerly ruled the country.
By Facebook’s telling, the accounts targeted people living in Thailand’s southern provinces, where the government has long faced a violent insurgent and separatist movement. Typical content include support for the Thai military and monarchy, calls for non-violence, alleged violence by the insurgent groups, and criticism of the separatist movement.
Facing criticism for not confronting disinformation and the promotion of violence, social media companies are now acting aggressively to show that they mean business. And after banning former US President Trump, they also need to show that they’re consistent across the globe.
Accordingly, Facebook and subsidiary Instagram swiftly booted Myanmar’s military, blamed for a recent coup, from their platforms. Thailand and neighbouring Myanmar have been known for powerful military establishments that often interfere with politics.