Bangkok: Thailand`s Interior Ministry has decided to ban Facebook use by its staff nationwide from next month, saying excessive use of the social networking site is eating up bandwidth needed for official video conferences.
A letter has been sent by the ministry to all provincial governors asking them to inform their subordinates to comply with the new regulation, effective from October 1.
According to the letter, ministry officials will be barred from visiting Facebook from 8:30 am to noon (local time) and from 1 pm to 4:30pm (local time).
Certain other unidentified websites offering audio-visual downloads that are "useless to bureaucratic work" will also be blocked.
Ministry officials began investigating the problem recently after encountering transmission problems while holding video conferences, Manrat Rattanasukonj, director of the information technology and communication centre in the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Interior, said.
The ministry uses video conferencing for meetings with its agencies in the provinces and also with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at Government House.
A probe found that widespread use of YouTube and live chat via Facebook at ministry offices had eaten up a large amount of the internet bandwidth supposedly set aside for holding live video conferences, Bangkok Post said.
After October 1, YouTube will still be accessible (for ministry officials) as usual, "but we will make the download speed (of the content) slower", Manrat said.
"If the Prime Minister wants to hold a live video meeting with a provincial Governor, we must be ready at all times," he said.