For a little over two months, Thailand's brewing political conflict surfaced the streets of Bangkok, leading "red shirt" and "yellow shirt" protestors to violently battle their political differences. The riots killed nearly 90 and wounded nearly 1,800 people, disrupting the lives of tourists and locals, including Thai Facebook users.
On May 24, 2010, The Christian Science Monitor published an article titled "Thailand's red shirts and yellow shirts battle it out on Facebook". The author, Simon Montlake, explains how Thai protestors took advantage of Facebook to fuel hate speech, peer pressure, intolerance, and zealous debate.
Ironically, Thais are generally known as polite people who try to avoid confrontation.
Regardless, the cultural norm disappears online when Thai Facebook users loudly voice their political opinions and attempt to recruit friends into their political networks. Montlake says, "social networking sites...allow the curious to seek out opposing views and join groups that they might not encounter offline."
It's important to note that the yellow shirts, or the urban elites, influenced traditional and online media to shape their messages by using their access to communication platforms like the Internet. As a result, "the demographic split...skews to anti-red views, as does much of Thailand's newspapers and television." The red shirts, however, continued to rely on the radio.
Read the full article here.