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Thailand Plans Legal Action Against Facebook Over Scams on Its Platform

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Thailand Plans Legal Action Against Facebook Over Scams on Its Platform

Thailand’s National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA) is pursuing legal action to force Meta, Facebook’s parent company, to implement greater steps to combat scams on the network.

AVM Amorn Chomchoey, secretary-general of NCSA, stated that the agency is in discussions with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Office of the Attorney-General to investigate legal options for forcing Meta to handle fraudulent ads better.

“As we’re not legal experts, we need an alliance to develop more stringent preventive measures for ad scams, particular on Facebook,” Amorn said in a statement.

“We are asking the DSI to consider cyberscams as special cases and the Attorney-General’s office to consider legal action overseas in the case of Meta.”

He highlighted a Straits Times report from last year, which stated that Malaysian authorities were planning legal action against Meta after it reportedly failed to delete objectionable content from the social networking platform despite repeated demands.

According to the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau, investment scams ranked fourth among the 14 primary categories of online fraud, with approximately 30,000 incidents and an estimated loss of 15.3 billion baht between March 1, 2022, and November 10, 2023.

Facebook Scams

Fraudulent Accounts on Facebook

Meta previously stated that it cooperates with local authorities to combat online fraud in Thailand, specifically fraud and deception.

Hazelia Margaretha, APAC public policy manager for economic policy at Meta, stated that the company is continually improving strategies to stay up with changing online behaviours and allocating resources to safeguard customers from fraudulent accounts and other inauthentic behaviour. Meta also works with Interpol and collaborates with local governments, she explained.

Ms. Margaretha stated that the company eliminates content that intentionally deceives, misrepresents, defrauds, or exploits others for money or property. This includes content that supports fraudulent activity through Meta services.

According to Paiboon Amonpinyokeat, a cyberlaw specialist, Thai authorities can utilize civil and criminal law against Meta, but enforcing a court order may be problematic due to Meta’s location in the United States.

He stated that Thailand might sue Meta and its Thai companies and utilize court judgments to stop Meta’s content distribution network in Thailand.

According to AVM Amorn, celebrities who have experienced reputational harm due to Facebook ad scams can pursue legal action against Meta, as in other countries. He also cautioned against a new investment scam on Facebook.

Scammers are creating a group on Line OpenChat and pretending to be famous stock gurus offering free financial advice. According to AVM Amorn, they will then ask the victims to invest in bogus portfolios.

Facebook Instagram

European Union Regulators Want Answers

Thailand isn’t the only country concerned about Meta’s business practices; last month, European Union regulators issued another formal request for information (RFI) seeking more details on Meta’s response to child safety concerns on Instagram, including what it’s doing to address risks associated with the sharing of self-generated child sexual abuse material (SG-CSAM) on the social network.

The request is filed under the bloc’s freshly relaunched online legislation, the Digital Services Act (DSA), which began applicable to larger in-scope platforms (including Instagram) in late August.

The DSA requires Big Tech to address illegal content, including implementing mechanisms and protections to prevent misuse of their services. The rule also significantly emphasises minors’ protection, so it’s not unexpected that many of the European Commission’s early RFIs are concerned with kid safety.

The latest Commission request to Meta follows a report by the Wall Street Journal that suggests Instagram is struggling to clean up a CSAM problem it exposed this summer — when it revealed Instagram’s algorithms were connecting a web of accounts used for making, buying, and trading underage-sex content.

Following the WSJ exposé, the EU warned Meta that it would face “heavy sanctions” if it did not address kid protection concerns quickly.

Facebook Meta

Meta, the Parent of Facebook and Instagram Failing

Now, months later, another WSJ story claims Meta has failed to address the issues raised, despite the business forming a child safety task group to try to prevent “its own systems from enabling and even promoting a vast network of pedophile accounts,” as the newspaper puts it.

“Five months later, tests conducted by the Journal as well as by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection show that Meta’s recommendation systems still promote such content [i.e. accounts dedicated to producing and sharing underage-sex content],” according to the study.

“The firm has removed pedophilia-related hashtags, but its systems still promote new ones with small modifications. Even when Meta is notified of issue accounts and user groups, it has been inconsistent in eliminating them.”

Meta’s poor performance in combating the spreading of unlawful CSAM/SG-CSAM, as well as its failure to act effectively on linked child safety hazards, could cost the company dearly in the EU: The DSA gives the Commission the authority to impose fines of up to 6% of global annual sales if it considers that the regulation’s terms have been breached.

Just over a year ago, Meta was fined less than half a billion dollars after Instagram was found to have broken the bloc’s data protection laws for minors.

“The Commission is seeking that Meta gives additional information on the steps it has taken to comply with its duties to assess risks and implement effective mitigation measures related to minors’ protection, including the propagation of SG-CSAM on Instagram.

Facebook

Children’s safety on Instagram

The EU also wants to know about Instagram’s recommender system and the amplification of potentially dangerous information,” it said in a news release today, unveiling its newest intelligence-gathering step on the platform.

In addition to the risk of financial punishment, Meta may face reputational difficulties if EU regulators persistently question its approach to protecting minors.

Meta has received three RFIs since DSA compliance began to apply to the corporation; the second focuses on children’s safety on Instagram. (The EU has also asked Meta for further information on how it handles content concerns relating to the Israel-Hamas war, as well as what it is doing to safeguard election security.)

So far, the EU has not announced any formal investigations under the DSA. However, the early rush of RFIs indicates that it is busy conducting assessments that could lead to such a step, raising the possibility of fines later on if any breaches are confirmed.

Meta has until December 22 to supply the Commission with the newest requested kid safety data. Failure to comply with RFIs, such as supplying erroneous, incomplete, or deceptive information in response to a request, may also result in DSA consequences.

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