Facebook has been given 15 days to remove information which violates the Computer Crime Act or face legal action, Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta said on Monday.
He said in April, the Digital Economy and Society Ministry received complaints about 1,365 URLs and sent letters and emails to ask Facebook to remove them — though Facebook took down only 236 links and has not yet removed the other 1,129 pages despite court orders.
“Previously, Facebook claimed that it did not receive a formal letter or a court order. But now, I will send a letter to them again to tell them that we will take legal action. We have given them three months, but they have still failed to act,” Mr Punnakanta said.
“According to Section 27 of the Computer Crime Act, if Facebook fails to act within 15 days, they will face both criminal action and a fine of no more than 200,000 baht, as well as penalties of no more than 5,000 baht per day [for each day the information remains online].”
Mr Punnakanta said that in just a week after the “Volunteers Keep an Eye Online” webpage was launched, the ministry has received an additional 1,050 complaints.
“Most of the complaints are linked to social networks and illegal websites,” he said.
The ministry has investigated and gathered evidence to seek court orders to close 181 pages. Of them, seven have been ordered closed or removed by the court, he said.
The remaining URLs, which are under investigation, are divided into four groups, he said.
The first group consists of 35 pages which have been linked with fraud cases, while the second group, which consists of 25 pages, are linked to online gambling.
The third group, which consists of just one URL, involves fake news, while the remaining 101 pages are still under investigation, Mr Punnakanta said.
Mr Punnakanta said the ministry is working to ensure its online complaint centre can gather and examine the evidence about a complaint within 48 hours of it being filed, so the government can seek out court orders to shut down an offending URL quickly.
This will enable the police’s Technology Crime Suppression Division and other agencies to arrest offenders behind the illegal websites and information, Mr Punnakanta said.
So far this year, the ministry has received complaints about 8,715 URLs. The courts have issued orders for action against 7,164 URLs, he said.
Facebook refused to comment on the matter.