Fake news crackdown sees cases top 16,000
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Fake news crackdown sees cases top 16,000

The Anti-Fake News Center (AFNC) has analysed 16,843 cases, involving 800 million messages, for fact verification since it was established in November 2019 as part of the government's fight against disinformation, according to the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry.

The numbers cover the period up to July 20 this year.

The highest proportion of cases were linked to healthcare content, with 49% of the total, followed by state policies at 46%, the economy at 3%, and disasters at 2%.

DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn said he was satisfied with a recent decline in the number of fake news reports and complaints, saying it resulted from public awareness of the problem and coordination between the media and 358 state agencies to help verify information.

He stressed the government will not lower its efforts to monitor and counter fake news, although members of the public are becoming more aware of online disinformation.

The administration will scale up cooperation with other agencies to deal with the fake news.

An average of 80 million baht is spent annually on anti-fake news efforts, Mr Chaiwut said.

According to the minister, the spread of fake news surged as the number of people infected with Covid-19 soared in Thailand between 2020 and 2021.

This year the biggest fake news topics have been over Thai economic and state policies, including post-pandemic recovery measures.

The AFNC has four steps to counter fake news.

The first is to monitor content on online platforms and detect those suspected of containing false information. Second, it alerts the DES Ministry about the suspected fake news.

The third step is to verify the suspected content, and the fourth is to publish a clarification countering the fake news.

The AFNC is supported by a digital war room powered by data dashboards, applications, and fact-finding efforts linked to 358 state agencies.

"The AFNC has been well supported by various agencies, especially the Ministry of Public Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the Royal Thai Police, which has also established a unit to fight against disinformation, called the Anti-Fake News and Security Center," said Mr Chaiwut.

The AFNC focuses on four categories of fake news: healthcare, state policies, disasters, and the economy.

Members of the public can tip off the AFNC about suspected false information through six channels.

They comprise the www.antifakenewscenter.com website, the official Anti-Fake News Centre Facebook account, the @AfncThailand Twitter account, the Official Line Account @antifakenewscenter, the Fake News Notification Centre, and the 111 telephone hotline, extension 87.

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