Insulting the Thai Monarchy on Facebook Can Lead to Jail

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In your "Can they actually do that?" moment of the day, the Thai government has issued a warning that anyone who "likes" or "shares" a Facebook comment insulting the Thai Monarchy is committing a crime. The Guardian reports that the warning against social network lèse-majesté -- the crime of smearing the monarchy -- comes two days after a Thai court sentenced 61-year-old Amphon Tangnoppaku to 20 years of jail for insulting the queen in a text message. So it turns out, they actually did in Tangnoppaku's case.  But isn't Facebook a little different? Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap says no.  And what happens if you already "liked" that weird photo meme of the Thai Queen Occupying Wall Street with the Pepper Spray Cop? Anudith said you should go back and delete all your reactions and comments. "If they don't delete them, they can end up violating the computer crime act for indirectly distributing inappropriate content," said Anudith in The Guardian report.  And not being in Thailand at the moment of your lèse-majesté doesn't exempt you from this rule either. "If a foreigner abroad clicks 'share' or clicks 'like,' then the Thai law has no jurisdiction over that, but if there is a lawsuit filed and that person then comes into Thailand, then that person will be prosecuted," Anudith told the Associated Press, which reported that 36 lèse-majesté cases were sent for prosecution in 2010, compared to 18 in 2005 and just one in 2000.  If you just can't let the day go by without airing your grievances about the Thai Queen, perhaps you should save your lèse-majesté for that fake Twitter handle you've always wanted.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.