The age of government (dis)information in Thailand

Social media giant Twitter last week blocked nearly one thousand accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army, which were in violation of its policies on manipulation of information. According to a statement released by Twitter, the accounts were “engaging in amplifying pro-RTA and pro-government content, as well as engaging in behavior targeting prominent political opposition figures”.

Some of those figures included now-banned opposition leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit of the defunct Future Forward Party.

A study the same week by the Stanford Internet Observatory showed that many of the accounts, more than two-thirds of them, had never tweeted or had little to no engagement. Much of the activity occurred around the end of 2019 and corresponding with the Royal Barge Procession, which marked the coronation of King Vajiralongkorn and after the February 2020 Korat shooting, where a soldier killed 30 people and injured 57 in a shopping mall in Nakhon Ratchasima Province. Activity also increased during the disbanding of the Future Forward Party in late February. Twitter also took down accounts linked to the governments of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Russia.

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