Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has instructed the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) and security agencies to take tough action against those who spread fake news.
Gen Prawit ordered state agencies, including the Anti-Fake News Centre, the Royal Thai Police, the Justice Ministry and the DES, to work together to respond swiftly to the spread of fake news on social media platforms, and take legal action accordingly.
Fake news and false information had caused confusion among the public, affecting the government's disease control operations during the Covid-19 pandemic, said Maj Gen Patchasak Patirupanont, assistant spokesman to the deputy prime minister.
The Public Relations Department had also been told to issue accurate information to the public, he said.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has also instructed the Council of State, the government's legal advisory body, to study the laws and regulations, including those in foreign countries, dealing with the spread of fake news.
The council's findings will be presented to the cabinet and will be used to improve current laws, said government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri, adding the existing legal process was slow to respond to fake news.
Fake news by contrast, spreads quickly and causes widespread damage. It is unclear which particular example of fake news has prompted the latest orders.
Asked if the Computer Crime Act was sufficient to deal with fake news on social media, Mr Anucha said legal proceedings under the law could not curb the damage speedily enough.