It has been a very long week in Thailand with a number of major events. It started with Martial Law which quickly led into a full blown coup on 22nd May. We then got a curfew, detention of people without trial, censorship of media, and now, a brief shutdown of Facebook. At 3:45pm this afternoon (1), everyone was suddenly tweeting that they couldn’t get into Facebook. This situation continued until 4:35pm (2). The official response from the junta is that it was a “glitch”. But not many people believe that. If it was the internet being slow, why only that one website? If it was Facebook having problems, why could people access it with a VPN?
The chart above from the lab.in.th website shows the live Twitter rate for Thailand. Dark blue is today and you can see the sudden surge in chatter (1) which continued for nearly an hour until people realized Facebook was working again (2). It’s interesting to compare this to the chatter on the day of the coup, the line in grey. There was a sudden peak at 4:55pm (3) which then continued throughout the evening. Another way to record the so-called importance of these events is to look at how many re-tweets I got for the announcement of the coup, the early closing of 7-Eleven due to curfew, and today’s temporary shutdown of Facebook. Which do you think got the most interest?
As of 4:30pm, the Thai army has taken control of #Thailand. This is now officially a coup— Richard Barrow in Thailand (@RichardBarrow) May 22, 2014
As you can see, the news about the possible blocking of Facebook won by a landslide. The news about the coup came last. No surprise I guess as Bangkok is the Facebook capital of the world.