Facebook has blocked access in Thailand to lớn a million-thành viên group discussing the monarchy, after the Thai government threatened legal action.

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The firm told the Đài truyền hình thangvi.com it was preparing its own legal action to lớn respond to the pressure from Bangkok.

Vương Quốc Nụ Cười is seeing a wave of anti-government protests which have included unprecedented calls for reforms to the monarchy.

Access from within Xứ sở nụ cười Thái Lan to the "Royacác mục Marketplace" group was blocked on Monday evening. The page can still be accessed from outside the country.

The group has more than one million members, "pointing khổng lồ its massive sầu popularity," group admin Pavin Chachavalpongpun told the thangvi.com.

Mr Chachavalpongpun said the group "provides a platform for serious discussion on the monarchy và it allows Thais lớn express their views freely about the monarchy, from the political intervention of the monarchy, to its intimate ties with the military in consolidating the king's power".

The self-exiled academic is based in Japan. A new Facebook group he set up on Monday evening gained more than 400,000 followers over night.

Facebook confirmed lớn the Đài truyền hình thangvi.com it was "compelled lớn restrict access lớn nội dung which the Thai government has deemed khổng lồ be illegal".

truyền thông captionThe anti-government rally in Bangkok is thought lớn be the biggest in xứ sở của những nụ cười thân thiện Thái Lan for six years
"Requests like this are severe, contravene international human rights law, and have a chilling effect on people's ability to lớn express themselves," it said in a statement.

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Vương Quốc Nụ Cười forcing Facebook to restrict access lớn the group has also been strongly criticised by rights groups.

"Thailand's government is again abusing its overbroad and rights-abusing laws to lớn force Facebook lớn restrict content that is protected by the human right to lớn free speech," John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

"Make no mistake, it is Xứ sở nụ cười Thái Lan that is breaking the law here - international law protecting freedom of expression."

"Some members think a constitutional monarchy may still work, but this is the minority. Some think an urgent monarchical rekhung is needed."

The other two are British journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall who has published a book critical of the Tnhì monarchy and Thai political history professor Somsak Jeamteerasakul who is an outspoken critic of the monarchy & lives in exile in France.

Thailand's monarchy has long been shielded from criticism under strict lese-majeste và other laws which punish insult khổng lồ the royal family with up lớn 15 years in jail.

But that taboo was broken in recent weeks when some activists started publicly calling for reforms to lớn the monarchy - amid wider anti-government protests.

"I think they have pushed the ceiling of the discussion on the monarchy very high and they will continue khổng lồ vày so," Mr Chachavalpongpun told the Đài truyền hình thangvi.com.

"The government tried khổng lồ shut them up by using legal tools such as arresting the core leaders and blocking access to my group. If the students persist, a harsher measure might be taken, like a crackdown."