How often do you ‘like’ or share a photo on Facebook? However often it is, don’t take it for granted – in Thailand, ‘liking’ and sharing the wrong photo on Facebook can get you up to 30 years in prison.
As laid out in an article from Quartz, a recent online incident took place that has left a Thai man in jail for insulting the royal family on Facebook, an offense that can carry upwards of 15 years in prison per the Thai Criminal Code 112.
Under Thai Criminal Code 112, often referred to as the lèse majesté law, it is illegal to insult any member of the royal family, including but not limited to a king, queen or heir of Thailand. The problem, as you may have noticed, is that the law is very vague, with no specific use-cases for what is considered an insult.
On December 10th, this ambiguous law was used by the army-led government to arrest automobile factory worker Thanakorn Siripaiboon after ‘he clicked ‘Like’ on a doctored photo of the King and shared it with 608 friends,’ said Col Burin Thongprapai in speaking with Agence France-Presse.
While we can’t verify exactly what image was shared by Siripaiboon, it’s very likely it was one of many compositions created by Reddit users during a ‘Photoshop Battle’ that took place on the subreddit r/PsBattle on Saturday, December 12th, 2015.
A second charge was given to Siripaiboon for sharing an infographic, an excerpt of which can be seen above, on Facebook. Created by the New Democracy Movement, the infographic points out the inflated prices and corrupt financials behind a recent theme park created and promoted by the Royal Thai Army built as a tourist attraction.
Siripaiboon confessed to both charges and faces upwards of 32 years in prison – 15 for each charge (we’re not sure where the other two come in). According to AFP, Siripaiboon is just one of many individuals drawing attention to the corruption, with many others being charged with similar crimes for speaking out.
Next time a few not-so-kind comments show up on the latest photo you share on Facebook, it might be worth it to think back at this and at least be thankful that you never have to worry about facing jail time for sharing your latest photo.