Digital Economy and Society Ministry outlines fake news crackdown
Seeking help from Line, other giants
The Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DE) is seeking to counter fake information shared online through the Line app because urgent issues could potentially incite mass public misunderstanding.
The move was spelled out by DE Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, who held a press briefing about approaches to thwart false information yesterday, including setting up a 25-member panel to deal with the problem.
The minister said the Line Today channel, which is a news feed, could put out factual information to counter fake or fraudulent content spreading online.
"I informally talked with the management of Line Thailand about it and they principally supported the idea," Mr Buddhipongse said. A formal meeting with Line is planned for the near future.
The ministry also intends to launch its own official account on Line as an anti-fake-news centre, the brainchild of Mr Buddhipongse.
The agency wants to collaborate with Facebook and Google Thailand on sharing facts and information to deal with fake information on their platforms, as well as creating awareness of false content.
Mr Buddhipongse said the government is preparing procedures for establishing the anti-fake-news centre, as well as building mechanisms serving operation of the centre.
The minister yesterday held a meeting with related state agencies and formed a committee for cooperation to tackle fake news.
The panel comprises 25 members who represent high-ranking management at agencies under the DE Ministry and other agencies related to the committee's purpose, including the Public Health Ministry, the Government Public Relations Department, media associations, the Thailand Management Association, consumer protection associations and academic groups.
The committee, which is chaired by the DE minister, will be responsible for planning, monitoring, analysing and verifying information published via the internet and social media platforms.
It will also analyse trends and the effects of online information and cooperate with related agencies to clarify and release facts countering fake content.
According to the minister, four subcommittees will also be established at the next meeting to support the task.
"Within October, the DE Ministry will be able to start operations to counter fake news through various measures, including launching a website, establishment of the anti-fake-news centre and collaboration with Line, Facebook and Google," Mr Buddhipongse said.
The minister said he would ask agencies, which are more susceptible to false information, to assign two officials from each organisation to join the anti-fake-news centre. They would work as contact people around the clock to deal with the problem.
False information is being spread in many fields, such as disaster warnings, weather forecasts, government policies and rumours, Mr Buddhipongse said.
Agencies affected by fake news must provide correct information to the public, the minister said.