The government of Thailand has taken umbrage at Meta’s social media platform, Facebook, and is threatening to sever access to it in the country. The problems have arisen due to the increasing prevalence of crypto and other scams that have flooded the platform.
On August 22, it was reported that Thailand’s Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry would request a criminal court order this month to shut down Facebook in the country.
Thailand vs. Facebook
The ministry will be using Thailand’s strict computer crime laws. This will be leveraged to file charges against Facebook and the scammers that it allows on the platform. Moreover, it claims that Meta has failed to screen fraud and prevent pages sponsoring scams, according to the Bangkok Post.
These sponsored pages are customers that pay Facebook to target certain audiences.
Additionally, the Thai Police will also file similar lawsuits to both the criminal and civil courts against the scammers themselves.
The ministry stated that scams disseminated by Facebook lured users into investing in fake companies, cryptocurrencies, exchanges, and fake government bodies such as the SEC.
DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn said around 70% of online scams in Thailand take place on Facebook, adding:
“It has been a most critical issue that many big corporates and famous people had their names and images impersonated to create fake content to lure people for investment.”
The Minister invited Meta representatives to join the discussion on August 21, but the firm failed to assign someone.
He added that they asked Facebook to help screen users or accounts which “pay Facebook for their sponsored pages to post content cheating people to invest.”
The issue is further exacerbated by the fact that Facebook has a massive user base in Thailand. The report added that it has 65 million users, which is almost the entire population of the Southeast Asian Kingdom.
Furthermore, there have been around 300,000 complaints regarding Facebook fraud in both criminal and civil courts. Individuals and government agencies such as the SEC have filed these complaints.
Social Media Scams Rife
Prae Dumrongmongcolgul, country director for Meta in Thailand, said that scammers continually evolve to evade the platform’s algorithms.
In 2021, a California class-action lawsuit accused the company of working with scammers by deploying misleading ads and targeting its users.
Moreover, WhatsApp, which Meta also owns, is also a hotbed for scammers. According to UK media, scammers are increasingly turning to the chat app to lure users into departing with their hard-earned money.
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