Anti-fake news centre pins blame on elderly

Anti-fake news centre pins blame on elderly

Half a million items of suspected false information detected in first month

The anti-fake news centre at the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society is set up to monitor social media. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
The anti-fake news centre at the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society is set up to monitor social media. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

About 500,000 items of suspected fake news were spread on social media over the past month, with the elderly found to be the biggest culprits, Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta said on Monday.

He said the ministry's anti-fake news centre has detected some half a million items of possible fake news and sent them to relevant agencies for fact-checking, which should take two hours.

Mr Buddhipongse said the anti-fake news centre, which was formally launched on Nov 1, intends to speed up detection and is also looking into misuse of social media platforms to deceive people. 

According to the minister, people aged 60 and over were found to be the greatest source of inaccurate information online, which they mainly spread out of concern for those close to them.

Mr Buddhipongse was responding to questions posed by Senator Jadet Insawang on how the government plans to fight the spread of online fake news in Thailand, which has a high rate of internet usage. 

Mr Jadet cited figures from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), which showed about 90% of people have access to the internet and more than 100 million mobile phone numbers are in use.

According to the senator, existing legal measures to deal with the spread of false content online are inadequate, and state agencies need to do more to raise public awareness of fake news and how to spot it.

Mr Buddhipongse also said the work of the anti-fake news centre was being hampered by criticism that it acts as a tool to protect the government's image.

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