A survey has revealed the five areas containing the most contentious content available to Thais on social media.
The worst areas were violence, false advertisements, misinformed health advice, fake news and pornography, according to Chulalongkorn University's Digital Intelligence and Literary Research Unit (Diru). The survey was conducted earlier this year, among 2,580 respondents nationwide aged from 16-60.
The study reveals Thais spent 3.5-8 hours online every day, focusing on four main activities: entertainment, connecting with friends, plus reading news and work-related matters, said Phnom Kleechaya, head of Diru. The most popular platforms were Line, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, with users accessing them on average 7-8 times a day for 30-60 minutes each time.
The research identified a total of 15 types of dubious content, among the others lotteries, gambling, fraudulent sales, cyber-bullying, offers to earn illegal money, hacking sites, invitations to expose your private data and invest in Ponzi and other illegal investment schemes.
"The top five risks were violent content, illegal ads, unreliable health content, fake news and pornographic content in that order," said Mr Phnom. "Although Thai people of all age groups faced many online risks, those in the 23-39 age group were found to be more at risk than other groups as they had greater purchasing power."
Mr Phnom said those aged 15-22 were more likely to be lured by fake news and fall prey to cyber-bullying. Adults aged 40-59 were more likely to be tricked or scammed by strangers than other groups, while those aged 60 and above were more likely to fall for false health information.
The research found most Thais still needed to improve their skills in two particular areas: "social communication" (the ability to comment and use media with awareness) -- and "understanding media text" (the ability to understand content on media sites, both direct content and those with a hidden agenda).
The Diru last week launched two websites -- www.thaidigitalcitizen.net and www.คิดคุยค้น.net -- to improve Thais' digital literacy skills and help them reduce the risks on online platforms. Both websites are divided into three parts: The first one is "Think", which provides eight online lessons about risks on online platforms; the second is "Talk", which provides space for people to exchange their experiences; the last is "Search", which provides a fact-checking service for people who want to verify content.