Focus on preventing fake news

Focus on preventing fake news

Phichet Rerkpreecha, chief executive of Line Thailand, at the Stop Fake News workshop. *No photo credit*
Phichet Rerkpreecha, chief executive of Line Thailand, at the Stop Fake News workshop. *No photo credit*

The Digital Economy and Society (DE) Ministry is gearing up for the government's anti-fake news mission through school courses, public workshops and dissemination of factual information on social media.

Yesterday, DE Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta said he will talk with the Education Ministry about adding a course on digital literacy to the school curriculum. A clear resolution on the issue is expected by the end of this year, he said.

Activities are planned to boost public digital literacy as one effort to combat fake news, said Mr Buddhipongse. They include workshops, seminars and distribution of factual information via digital platforms or popular social media channels.

"Anyone can serve as a news reporter or commentator on social media without any social responsibility," he said. "This could have a huge impact on the economy, society and even personal lives."

The DE Ministry plans to set up an anti-fake news centre by early November.

Building public awareness is necessary, including among students, about possible false information, teaching them to filter the information they receive, said Mr Buddhipongse. They should also be encouraged not to share fake information with others on public platforms, he said.

Mr Buddhipongse was speaking on the sidelines of "Stop Fake News campaign" workshop in Bangkok, jointly conducted by Line Thailand, the Associated Press and the Thai Media Fund.

The DE Ministry is in the process of creating an official Line account as a channel to inform the public about fake or fraudulent information online.

The ministry has talked with Line Thailand about disseminating factual information through Line Today news feeds.

"Collaborating with giant social media platforms is needed as a speedy resolution to deal with fake news," Mr Buddhipongse said.

Phichet Rerkpreecha, chief executive of Line Thailand, said Line Today has 36 million readers and over 1 million page viewers per month. Line Today has partnered with 160 Thai publishers.

Mr Phichet said Line has cooperated with state and private organisations to verify if fake information is brought onto Line Today. He stressed Line has no policy to monitor chats or content posted by Line users.

If any suspicious content is detected on Line's timeline, people can report it to the platform, which would help verify the content, he said.

Mr Phichet said the Stop Fake News workshop was initiated to cultivate better media literacy among young people and to prevent the spread of fake news online.

Cooperation from all sectors of society is needed to prevent fake news from originating and spreading, he said.

"Line is close to the fake news problem, so it is our responsibility to take part in solving the issue collectively," Mr Phichet said.


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