The digital tussles continue as Thailand authorities issue a stark warning to the inimitable social media behemoth, Facebook, threatening to muzzle its operations in the country. The bone of contention revolves around the flourishing investment and cryptocurrency scam ads that continue to plague the platform.
The Thai Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) lodged a complaint against Facebook, urging the platform to address the issue with increased vigilance and stave off the startling extent – 5301 fraudulent ads, to be precise. The ministry, aligning itself with Thailand’s computer crime laws, pointed a stern finger at Facebook and those scammers utilizing the platform’s sponsored pages to disseminate deceiving content.
Over the years, MDES and its affiliate agencies have been seeking synergy from Facebook’s end, albeit with deflated results. As a result, MDES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn called for a high-profile meeting involving various official personas, attempting to devise practical solutions for the ongoing charade.
An intriguing point in the discussion was a stunning statistic: nearly 95% of 300,000 cases implicated Facebook, with an estimated damage of over 10,000 million baht. The implication was direct: if Facebook wishes to operate in Thailand, it needs to shoulder responsibility towards its users.
In conjunction, the ministry endeavored to spread awareness among the citizens about the various scams commonly lurking in the dark corners. These include tantalizing adverts promising exorbitantly high returns, cloaked celebrities endorsing counterfeit investments, and tempting, time-sensitive special offers.
Facebook’s representatives were conspicuously absent from the meeting, despite an invitation, stirring further ire. Interestingly, the network boasts around 65 million users in Thailand. Prae Dumrongmongcolgul, Thailand’s country director for Meta, stated that Facebook’s countermeasures, including deploying AI to detect and negate scams, remain ongoing.
However, scammers have proven tenacious. A Federal Trade Commission report pointed out that Meta-owned platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, are increasingly becoming fertile grounds for fraudulent activities. According to the document, investors lost a staggering total of $700 million to crypto scams in 2021 alone, underscoring the harsh reality of rising cybercrime.
Indeed, countries like Australia have also risen in protest against Meta’s lax regulations, following the company’s culpability in proliferating crypto scams featuring public figures. As we continue to navigate these digital mines, the question of the hour remains: how long till there is definitive action against these cyber threats?