This afternoon at approximately 3:30 pm local time, many people across Thailand noticed that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is inaccessible in the country. The blockage is occurring on many – but not all – mobile telcos and broadband ISPs. (Update at 4:30 pm local time: Facebook is now working as normal in the country. There’s still no indication what caused the outage).
Since it’s been about five days since a military coup in the country, Thailand’s web users fear that the disappearance of Facebook is a deliberate act of censorship by the ruling “peace-keeping” junta. A couple of days before the coup, while the country was under martial law, Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) said that it will block access to sites if necessary. NBTC’s statement (translation by our Bangkok reporter) at that time said:
This is not censorship at all, but a blockade of only content or websites which may contravene to public morality and cause conflict and unrest and threat to national security.
This possible Facebook block in Thailand has been observed by our Thailand reporter as well as numerous people reporting it on Twitter.
Facebook is blocked in Thailand??
— Kitty Chirapongse (@gnarlykitty) May 28, 2014
— Mark Liew (@markjliew) May 28, 2014
@james_clark AIS, DTAC, TOT seems to be blocked. still accessible from 3BB Fiber.
— Isriya Paireepairit (@markpeak) May 28, 2014
— bangkokpundit (@bangkokpundit) May 28, 2014
However, it’s still possible that this is a technical issue in the country. Financial Times correspondent Michael Peel reports on Twitter that a junta spokesperson denies the military is blocking Facebook.
Watch this space.