Govt to meet FB officials to talk violence prevention

Govt to meet FB officials to talk violence prevention

A House committee will invite representatives of Facebook Thailand and other agencies for a second time to discuss ways to prevent violence on social media next week in the wake of the shooting rampage in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Bhumjaithai Party MP Settapong Malisuwan, who chairs a House committee on communications, telecommunications, and digital economy and society, said that the committee will next week discuss measures to prevent the improper use of social media during violent incidents following the mass shooting which left 30 people dead and 58 wounded last Saturday.

Representatives of Facebook Thailand, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission will be invited, Col Settapong said.

The committee had to cancel its meeting previously because representatives from Facebook Thailand did not show up, he said, adding that he expected them to give information next week.

He said that Facebook is a platform which is very popular among Thai users, and its information is crucial to help prevent violent incidents in the future.

Col Settapong also questioned whether Facebook keeps Thai users' personal data on servers based in Thailand. Information kept on servers abroad is still protected by the 2019 Thailand's Personal Data Protection Act, he added.

The planned meeting is to be held after Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma, the shooter, streamed his rampage on Facebook Live and posted a selfie showing him holding a rifle. "Tired, I can barely move my fingers," he said on a video posted at 7.20pm.

However, his Facebook page was taken down a few moments later. Facebook later confirmed that it had removed the account and would also take down "any other violating content related to this attack".

"Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this tragedy in Thailand. There is no place on Facebook for people who commit this kind of atrocity, nor do we allow people to praise or support this attack," a Facebook representative said.

But the government claimed that it was the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society that asked Facebook to take the attacker's Facebook page offline first.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister's Office Minister Tewan Liptapallop said yesterday the committee overseeing the PM's Office disaster-relief fund will give 1 million baht to each of the families of the 27 dead victims in the shooting incident, 200,000 baht to the seriously injured each, and 100,000 baht to the slightly injured each.

The compensation will be paid to them by Tuesday, Mr Tewan said.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, authorities will stop receiving public donations for the families of victims of the shooting rampage by tomorrow as donations have already topped 68 million baht.

Provincial governor Wichian Chantharanothai yesterday handed over another 700,000 baht to each of the families of the dead victims. Total donations were at 68.2 million baht as of 8am yesterday, he said.

Earlier, a panel distributed 300,000 baht to each of the 26 families, a total of 7.8 million baht, and 2.2 million baht to the families of those injured, or 100,000 baht each.

The panel agreed to increase financial aid for the families of the dead to one million baht each, from 300,000 baht, as donations exceeded the target of 50 million baht. The additional 700,000 baht was distributed yesterday.

On Thursday, the governor said no assistance would be given to the families of the gunman or the colonel and woman he killed at a house during a dispute on Feb 8, before he began his bloody rampage downtown.

Meanwhile, activist Srisuwan Janya yesterday petitioned the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the Defence Ministry, the army, the Royal Thai Police and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society for their alleged failure to prevent and deal with the shooting tragedy.

He accused the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society of giving false information by claiming that it had asked Facebook to close the page of the gunman, though Facebook said that it had closed the page itself and then informed the ministry.

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