In the last five years, people have used social media to organize protests and revolutions around the world, including Iran, Egypt, India, Turkey, the Philippines and Brazil. Right now, it’s
playing a role in increasingly violent confrontations between citizens and the powers that be in Ukraine, Venezuela and Thailand.
Although Ukraine and Venezuela are getting the
lion’s share of Western news coverage, some of the most innovative uses of social media are in Thailand, where anti-government protesters are targeting financial interests associated with the
current regime, according to Reuters.
Opponents of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (who is widely viewed as a proxy for her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister
living in exile after being convicted of abuse of power) have started online campaigns to boycott companies owned by the Shinawatras or the supporters.
That includes the Shinawatra’s
real estate business, SC Asset Corp, and a mobile handset company, M-Link Asia Corp.
Reuters reports that stocks in SC Asset and M-Link have fallen 10% since the boycott campaigns
began, while AIS is down about 5%. Because SC Asset owns a range of properties, over 40 businesses are being targeted as part of the boycott, per Reuters, including hospitals, restaurants, hotels,
golf courses and department stores.
It’s not just the financial interests of the Shinawatra clique that are threatened.
Companies formerly associated with the family
are also being targeted. They include Advance Info Service, the country’s largest mobile service provider, previously owned by the Shinawatras, which is down about 5% since the beginning of the
week, and Thaicom, a satellite Internet provider founded and later sold by Thaksin Shinawatra, which is down about 1.25%.
No surprise, former allies are running for cover: Shin Corp,
the holding company sold by the Shinawatras in 2006, is emphasizing that it is no longer owned by the family, while the Thai Military Bank is also countering rumors on social media that it is owned by
the family. Between the boycotts and the overall destabilizing effects of the protests, the main Thai stock index is also down 1.12%, with the index for companies with large market capitalizations