The AP says:
A Thai court sentenced a local webmaster Wednesday to an eight-month suspended sentence for failing to act quickly enough to remove Internet posts deemed insulting to country’s royalty.
The ruling showed leniency against Chiranuch Premchaiporn, who faced up to 20 years in prison for 10 comments posted on her Prachatai website, but still sends the message that Internet content in Thailand must be self-censored.
UPDATE: The New York Times has a story headlined “Google and Rights Groups Condemn Thai Court’s Conviction of a Webmaster.” It says:
Google and human rights groups reacted strongly on Wednesday to a Thai court’s decision to convict the webmaster of an Internet message board for comments posted by users that insulted the Thai royal family.
Courts in Thailand have with increasing frequency jailed people convicted of lèse-majesté, as royal insults are known. But the verdict on Wednesday was different: Chiranuch Premchaiporn, who was sentenced to a suspended one-year prison term, was not the author of the offending comments. She managed the Web site that hosted them.
Taj Meadows, a spokesman for Google, said in an e-mailed statement that the verdict was “a serious threat to the future of the Internet in Thailand.”
“Telephone companies are not penalized for things people say on the phone and responsible Web site owners should not be punished for comments users post on their sites — but Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act is being used to do just that,” Mr. Meadows said.
The Computer Crimes Act is controversial in Thailand partly because it was enacted by an unelected government installed after the military coup in 2006. The act also has a far-reaching extraterritorial feature built in: an American citizen was sentenced to two and a half years in prison last year for uploading from his computer in the United States a translation of a book banned in Thailand. He was arrested during a visit to Thailand.
The story is here, and begins:
There are more Facebook users in Bangkok than in any other world city. That is the somewhat surprising finding of a global ranking of the social networking behemoth’s users based on their metropolitan areas.
Bangkok has some 8.68 million Facebook users, followed by Jakarta (7.43 million) and Istanbul (7.07 million), according to a list published by the well-known international social media analytics company Socialbakers.
Please give the piece a read and — you knew this was coming — consider “liking” it on Facebook.
The AP reports today:
Thailand is welcoming Twitter’s new policy to censor tweets in specific nations where the content might break laws.
Technology minister Anudith Nakornthap said Monday the new policy was a “constructive” development. The Southeast Asian country routinely blocks websites with content deemed offensive to the Thai monarchy.
Jon Russell has more at The Next Web:
Twitter’s controversial move towards enabling the censorsing of tweets has gained the backing of its first international government, after authorities in Thailand publicly endorsed the introduction.
And The Bangkok Post ran a story on the news today.
More to come on this topic, I’m sure.
(All emphasis mine.)
I wanted to share this cell phone picture of a T-shirt I spotted at a market in Bangkok’s Silom neighborhood last night.
Yes, it says “RE TWEET ME.”
Further proof — as if any were needed — of Twitter’s global influence.
@newley love it! It’s like this one. I had to stalk this kid all the way down Silom for this picture.
So there you have it: Bangkok’s Silom ‘hood is a hotbed for Twitter-focused sartorial irony. Who knew?
While researching a story a couple of weeks back, I interviewed an expert who advises hotels on how best to use social media.
He told me that some clients were starting to realize that social media is here to stay, and that they had better start making good use of it.
Social media is here to stay.
That phrase stuck with me.
It’s tempting to think about social media in the short term, since it’s a relatively new phenomenon. Indeed, new services seem arrive quickly and sometimes fall out of favor. MySpace, for example, was once commanding international headlines, but its popularity has fallen off sharply.
But clearly, Facebook and Twitter — and now Google Plus — are gaining new users rapidly. And blogs, forums, and wikis continue to flourish. To wit:
Yes, there are important questions to ask here, like whether or not social media is actually beneficial for its users. This is a topic for another blog post, perhaps.
For now, I wanted to share the following sketches to illustrate how my thinking about the way I interact with the Web has changed over the years.
In an attempt to make sense of my own social media practices, I have periodically sketched out, on 4×6 inch index cards, how I use the Internet. But first, two caveats:
Okay. Here we go:
(Click the image for a larger version.)
As you’ll see, I labeled this “My Social Media Ecosystem,” and I drew a line in the left corner separating my “public” and “private” spheres.
In the upper left corner, I listed three online communities with which I was once involved but no longer use.
These include Mixx.com, which was a site that allowed users to set up pages and bulletin boards to share information on various topics; GoodReads, the well-known book-centered community; The Glove Bag, a community for soccer goalkeepers; and Emory Alumni, my alma mater’s community site.
In the middle of the diagram is my site, Newley.com, which you’re reading now. Overlapping the upper left and right corners are my Flickr page on the popular photo sharing site, and my Twitter account.
I also drew a link between my blog and my personal Facebook account.
In addition, I created a line between my site and my “blogroll,” which was once a long list of sites I linked to but is now a more focused list on my links page.
And finally, I listed the ways I collect input on the Web: through RSS, email, podcast, and Twitter feeds.
All in all, it is a somewhat jumbled diagram.
(Click the image for a larger version.)
Again, this one is called “My Social Media Ecosystem.”
Here, I charted my “level of engagement” along the “y” axis, with levels of public or private networks listed on the “x” axis.
Newley.com is in the upper left, as I regarded it as the Web entity with which I am most involved. I still feel that way.
Similarly public, but with less interaction on my part, are the blogs that I read and the Flickr users I track.
I estimated Twitter as being equal in terms of level of engagement as my blog, but it’s further along the “x” axis. While my Twitter feed is just as public as Newley.com, it’s slightly more closed in that users must sign up with the site to participate in discussions.
I listed Facebook as more private but involving less of my personal engagement. This is curious, since Facebook, of course, centers on personal relationships. But I consider my activity on that site as being less important than here, on my public Web site.
Skype shows up on this diagram as being private but involving less engagement, as I use the service not only for calls and video, but also for instant messaging.
And finally, I’ve listed podcasts here, though I’m not sure that they constitute social media. I have a high degree of engagement with the podcasts I listen to, but there’s no back-and-forth interaction, so the format feels largely broadcast in nature.
In retrospect, this diagram doesn’t seem especially meaningful, since levels of engagement and public or private measurements, as charted on the axes, aren’t valuable metrics.
(Click the image for a larger version.)
I used a different name for this one: “The Web and Me.”
I’ve used a venn diagram format here, with my site occupying the most prominent spot, in the middle.
Flickr overlaps a bit, as I occasionally host blog images (like these diagrams) there.
Twitter has a larger overlapping section, since I frequently post observations and links there throughout the day. And my Tweets have a more prominent place on Newley.com, since they can be seen on the right side of every page.
Facebook has a Flickr-sized overlapping segment, since I have a box on Newley.com inviting people to “like” my newly created public Facebook page.
And finally, on the left, you’ll see a circle for what I call “The Rest of the Web”: email, RSS, and podcasts.
This diagram feels the most natural to me, which shouldn’t be surprising since it’s the freshest.
This site contains links to my work, my contact information, and my ongoing posts about the things that interest me. I suspect that this will continue to be the case in the years ahead.
This may be a function of my evolving comfort with social media. Perhaps I’m not as concerned now with how “engaged” I am with a particular site, or whether or not it’s public or private. I have come to understand these factors and don’t dwell on them.
Looking ahead: If, as the expert told me, social media is here to say, what might these sketches look like in five or ten years? Or in 20 or 30 years?
I look forward to your thoughts.
Just a quick note, in these times of ongoing Thailand-Cambodia clashes, that I maintain a public Twitter list of Thailand journalists and commentators.
There are currently 40 members. You’ll find print and TV reporters, both foreign and Thai, as well as various writers, bloggers, and other observers here. The list is, I hope, a helpful resource for those looking for timely and credible information.
A quick note to point out that Chiranuch Premchaiporn, director of the independent Thai news site Prachatai, was arrested Friday and held for several hours for allegedly running afoul of Thailand’s Computer Crime Act and committing lese majeste, or insulting the royal family.
The charges reportedly stem from a 2009 complaint that offensive comments — though they were subsequently removed — had been posted on the site. Chiranuch is now out on bail but faces a 50 year prison sentence.
AP has a story — “Rights groups denounce arrest of Thai webmaster” — and Andrew Marshall has a blog post called “A Dangerous Woman.” And here’s a Bangkok Post op-ed by Professor Thitinan Pongsudhirak in which he touches on her case; the piece is called “Thailand and its hybrid authoritarianism.”
I suggest checking out all three items.
Readers of my recent Chronicle of Higher Education story about Thailand will recall that Chiranuch weighed in on Thai universities.