11 July 2024

#SavePornHub is the trending hashtag in Thailand today, after Thai government said it had banned Pornhub and 190 other URLs showing pornography.

The announcement prompted social media anger over censorship and a call for a protest against the decision.

Digital Economy and Society minister Puttipong Punnakanta said the block was part of efforts to restrict access to porn and gambling websites, the content is illegal under the cybercrime law. He added that the decision was not related to a clip featuring a prominent Thai personality that was posted on the website.

Thailand was among the Top 20 by daily traffic for Pornhub in 2019 and which has a globally-known sex industry. Thailand was also the number one country that spent the most time per visit on Pornhub, 11 minutes 21 second.

An activist group called Anonymous Party posted a statement saying: “We want to reclaim Pornhub. People are entitled to choices.” Another group, using the hashtag #SavePornhub, called a demonstration for Tuesday afternoon.

Another hashtag that was trending today was the one translates as #HornyPower is trending on Thai Twitter, with tweets making comments or posting memes that the government would be facing greater opposition now beyond the protesters.

Pornhub did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the ban and the trending hashtags.

Emilie Pradichit, director of the Manushya Foundation, which campaigns for digital rights, said the decision showed Thailand was “a land of digital dictatorship, with conservatives in power trying to control what young people can watch, can say and can do online.”

Social media users angered by the censorship have mocked the Ministry for a move they say will draw more people to the pornography website, which can still be accessed through various “cheats” being shared online.

Other netizens have applauded the government for blocking a website they say featured videos created via child trafficking or rape.

So far, the Thai government has blocked thousands of websites and social media accounts, many over political content, since the coup d’etat in 2014.