Opinion: The government is now using conscripts to demonize the protesters in online campaigns

There is no denying, military personnel are being asked to create, post, and share messages in supports of the institution.

Now, not everyone that posts photos and videos in support of the monarchy are doing so because they were told to do so by their superior officer.

I also post a photo of Rama IX to remember how he inspired me to pick up my first camera when I was in middle school, life was simple back then. 

But, there is clear evidence that the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) is currently working overtime on their information operation (IO) at night to counter the messages of the pro-democracy protestors in the day time.

How it is done is simple, lower-ranking soldiers are now being asked to create Facebook and Twitter accounts to post these messages under five hashtags every night. A recent Twitter report revealed accounts linked to the royal Thai army and working to spread such messages.

It is funny how ISOC thinks that none of these soldiers would show their relatives, friends, and reporters about what they have been asked to do.

Again, some of them might be happy to do so but not all. Some may even be sympathetic to the pro-democracy cause.

The information warfare was also used against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha’s political opposition. There is no reason why the military could be using the same operations to counter the current pro-democracy movement.

IO accounts are easy to spot, almost all of them do not use a real name and almost all of them just recently joined with no other content except messages to promote the monarchy and attack anyone that says otherwise, including reporters.

They also come out at night time when everyone is at sleep so that the IO operation can run smoothly without any interference and competition from pro-democracy messages and hashtags.

Most real royalists posted their messages during the day time like any other normal people will do, when they are awake and actually interested in what they are commenting and sharing.

The IO operation is also being done at night to make sure that the other side of the world sees that Thailand is full of people who love the monarchy institution.

Again, I do not deny that there are many royalists in this country, a lot more than the anti-monarchists, but they are also fed up with Prayut’s administration and his use of the institution to prolong his power.

The current pro-democracy movement is not an anti-monarchist movement. They are looking to reform the monarchy not to abolish it and many royalists do understand that point.

It is the extremist ones that continue to listen to nothing but the government’s propaganda that is being used to discredit the pro-democracy movement.

Was there content being used at these protests that can be deemed as insulting to the monarch? Yes. Do all of the people there agree with this content? Certainly not.

The common theme, time and time again, is for Prayut to get out so that the country can return to a fair election with a new democratic charter where the King continues to be the Head of State.  

The IO operation is meant to ignore this point. They want to incite violence by using propaganda to make royalists angry at the students like what they did during the period between the uprising in 1973 and the Thammasat Massacre in 1976.

To all royalists, please do not be swayed from the truth that this government is only doing all of this to continue to stay in power. The pretense of fealty is fake and serves only themselves.

At the same time, I would also like to encourage all the new royalists who recently joined Twitter to engage in a conversation with these students so you could find out for yourselves what they are really asking for.

It is time for the people to stop fighting each other online or offline when the common enemy are the coup-makers and their disloyalty to the crown.

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