Google has announced that it will remove any content from its video sharing platform YouTube that insults the Thai monarchy. The decision was taken by Google after Thai hardline royalists met executives of the company requesting them to pull such offensive content.
"We have always had clear and consistent policies for removal requests from governments around the world and we continue to operate in line with those policies," a Google spokesperson told Reuters.
The Asian country is currently in a state of mourning after their beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away on 13 October. Since then, many on social media as well as foreign media have published alleged 'offensive' content related to the crown prince and Thailand's legal heir to the throne which has not gone down well with the people.
Under Thailand's royal insult law enshrined in article 112 of the country's criminal code, it is a criminal offence to insult the king, queen, heir or regent and those who are found guilty may face up to 15 years in prison. The law even curtails public discussion about the monarchy's role and its future in the country.
"If any website is inappropriate Google has asked us to get in touch with them and inform them of the URL and the time the content was found," said Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong who headed the meeting with Google.
The Thai government has already started tracking people it suspects of insulting the monarchy following the king's death and is planning to ask countries where they reside to extradite them. Some critics of the monarchy living outside the country have been named and shamed in Thai language web forums.