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New digital minister ditches threat to shutdown local Facebook feed

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Digital, Economy and Society Minister says there’s no longer any plans to shut down access to Facebook in Thailand. Prasert Chantararuangthong was responding to questions about a threat from his predecessor, Chaiwat Thanakamanusorn, to block access to the social media platform over various scams and fake ads conning Thai netizens.

Chaiwat announced his proposal to block the social media giant during an August 21 press conference. At the time, he stated that his ministry would seek a court order to shut down Facebook in Thailand over its alleged failure to target scammers operating on the platform.

According to a Phuket Express report, over 200,000 social media users in Thailand have been conned by fake adverts and other scams, losing a combined 10 billion baht. However, Prasert says shutting down Facebook is not the answer.

“Many Thai people are benefitting from Facebook more than online scammers. There are more than 45 million Facebook users in Thailand. Many run small businesses and use Facebook live to market their products and services. It is the primary communication tool for many businesses as well. Any plan to shutdown Facebook in Thailand is very sensitive.”

Prasert says that instead, he plans to discuss the issue of online scams and fake advertising with Facebook executives, in an attempt to find a better solution.

“We need to be very careful about how we go about solving online scams and problems. Closing Facebook is not the real solution to get rid of these online scammers. We will discuss the problem further with Facebook executives from Singapore soon for better solutions.”

SOURCE: The Phuket Express

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