The user-generated map featured the full names, addresses, professions and alleged offenses of more than 400 people, including many students and some activists. It also included their photos, with a black box over their eyes and the number 112: a reference to Thailand’s strict lèse-majesté laws that make insulting or defaming the monarchy punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
“This was a witch hunt map,” Sunai said. “It could lead to physical danger against people who are marked.”
HRW received reports about the map from many people on Monday, some of whom were included in the map and frantically seeking legal advice, he added.
By Monday night, Google had taken down two versions of the map, Reuters reported.
“The issue is now fixed,” Google said in a statement. “We have clear policies about what’s acceptable for user generated My Maps content. We remove user generated maps that violate our policies.”
The company did not respond to specific questions about when it learned of the maps or what it would do to prevent similar incidents.
The maps are the work of a right-wing royalist activist, Songklod “Pukem” Chuenchoopol, who told Reuters that he and a team of 80 volunteers planned to report everyone on them to police for insulting the monarchy.
“When each of us sees something offensive posted on social media, we put it on the map,” he said, adding the maps were also a “psychological” warfare operation intended to dissuade people from criticizing the monarchy online.