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Prayut gets a taste of acerbic social media as he comes on board

Oct 15. 2018
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PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha, who previously said his real happiness was staying away from social media, is now fully equipped with the famous platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as his personal website, but reaction from netizens might remind him that his first instinct had been the best.

With the election getting closer the junta chief, whose popularity is declining, launched his personal social media assault on Saturday in a bid to reach out to people. 

On his Facebook page, Prayut’s first post read: “Dear citizen, as a lot of people are now communicating via Facebook, I have opened my personal account to communicate with you on government policy, the government’s and my works. All suggestions and opinions are welcomed.”

The post prompted a fierce reaction from his supporters, along with non-fans such as ex-journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall, who posted a half-Prayut, half-Hitler face portrait along with a comment. 

“I have some feedback,” wrote Marshall on Sunday, when the general asked for suggestions and an exchange of views on Facebook. “We want elections ASAP and a democratic prime minister.

Academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun posted his own picture with the caption, “I’m thirsty”, on Prayut’s page. 

Thai politician Pichai Naripthaphan reacted to Prayut’s page simply by sharing a post from another account that compared Prayut’s two comments regarding social media. On March 5, 2018 Prayut had said his real happiness was not using Facebook, but just seven months later the premier said he was opening a personal Facebook page to reach out and communicate with people. 

Criticism, satirical remarks and reprimands dominated the reactions to Prayut’s Facebook post.

Many called on him to step down, with some saying it was embarrassing for a soldier to topple a female-led government. Some wondered whether Prayut was using government resources to manage his website and social media.

Twitter @latenightdocto1, joined others by sarcastically advising the premier on how to ask for an increase in income taxes. 

Some posted to Prayut’s Facebook page that they missed former premiers Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra and many posted logos of the Future Forward Party.

As of press time, Prayut had 91,514 Facebook followers and had refrained from reacting to any comments. 

Prayut made his first tweet yesterday with simple words greeting people, welcoming them to exchange views on government affairs as well as to invite them to visit his website at prayutchan-o-cha.com. He had hit 9,283 followers on Twitter by press time.

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