Thailand has sent a high-level delegation to meet Google to push the company to remove any content that defames the royal family, a criminal offence in the south-east Asian country, the Guardian reported.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej died on 13 October, aged 88, after seven decades on the throne. At a time of focused discussion on royal affairs, lèse-majesté laws mean people deemed to have offended the monarchy can face years in jail.
The deputy prime minister said he met Google representatives in Bangkok on Friday and added that the company affirmed it would help the government remove videos from YouTube, a Google subsidiary.
“If any website is inappropriate they said to get in touch with them and inform them of the URL and the time the content was found,” Prajin Juntong told journalists.
Google said this conformed with its global practices. “We have always had clear and consistent policies for removal requests from governments around the world. We have not changed those policies in Thailand,” the company said in a statement emailed to the Guardian.
“We rely on governments around the world to notify us of content that they believe is illegal through official processes, and will restrict it as appropriate after a thorough review.”
Google’s terms of service say it may remove or refuse to display content it “reasonably believe[s]” violates the law, providing the company with a measure of control.
Sensitivity around the reputation of the monarchy is at an all-time high in Thailand and the government has been under pressure from ultra-royalists to show it is upholding the reputation of the monarchy.
Authorities have announced a 30-day mourning period during which people are expected to wear black or dark clothing.
Companies have also sought to show solidarity with national anguish and Google and YouTube in Thailand have changed their online logos to black.