Facebook’s parent company, Meta, is collaborating with authorities in Thailand to combat various forms of online fraud and deception. The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) has stated that more openness is required from Meta in order to remove fraudulent advertisements posted online.
The Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau reports that, on average, there are 200,000 instances of online fraud each year, costing victims an estimated 30 billion baht.
“Scams are a highly adversarial space with sophisticated, well-funded, and well-connected criminal networks across multiple countries and multiple platforms and they operate offline too,” said Hazelia Margaretha, Meta’s APAC public policy manager for economic policy.
“We are constantly evolving our techniques to keep pace with changing behaviours online and dedicate resources to protect users from fake accounts and other inauthenic behaviour as well as working with Interpol and partners in local authorities.”
She also said that the firm is eliminating any material that intentionally misleads, exaggerates, or otherwise defrauds or exploits individuals for financial gain. Included in this category is material that encourages illegal behaviour using Meta services.
“We use artificial intelligence [AI] as the frontline to find content and accounts that violate Meta policies and have 40,000 staff globally to review content,” Margaretha explained.
Meta is prioritising accounts that are likely to violate policies, creating avenues for users and law enforcement to report scams, and regularly removing bogus accounts.
According to its Community Standards Enforcement Report for the second quarter, Meta took action against 676 million false accounts on Facebook worldwide, removing 98.8 percent of them through proactive AI identification and removal.
With 95.3% proactive AI detection in December 2022, Meta processed 1.1 billion items of spam content.
We do not want advertisers on our site encouraging dishonest practises. We do not tolerate scams or other forms of advertising that are dishonest or dishonestly disguised. We will eliminate them as soon as we find them,” Margaretha promised.
If an advertiser’s actions don’t line up with our advertising rules, we may restrict their account in addition to assessing individual ads. We’re continuously looking for new ways to improve our systems, and that includes letting users report ads they’re seeing.
Ms. Margaretha provided advice on how to recognise fraudulent or imposter ads on Facebook, including ensuring that clicking on an ad takes visitors to the legitimate website of the company or business in question.
Through Meta’s reports, the DES Ministry has been able to shut down hundreds of accounts. Meta then conducted follow-up research, which led to the discovery of more networks hosting malicious actors and their subsequent removal.
She admitted that the Internet is a very hostile place where scammers use cloaking, impersonation, clickbait, and phishing attempts, making it difficult for systems to detect them. In order to evade detection, malicious actors may utilise techniques such as picture overlay or localised captions.
Wetang Phuangsup, deputy permanent secretary at the DES Ministry, claimed that Thailand is in the top five countries using QR codes for online payments due to the country’s widespread adoption of e-commerce and its easy access to fast, cheap internet.
There were 360,000 cases of internet scams in Thailand between January 2022 and March 2023, or around 700 cases each day. Forty percent of these cases involved e-commerce fraud.
Mr. Wetang explained that in order to curb online scams, the DES Ministry employs three methods: protection through information sharing and education, blocking illicit websites, and attacking mule accounts.
Meta is now blocking 400 URLs per day, or 12,000 per month, up from 50 per day previously.
However, he suggested that Meta make it clearer when it removes scam advertisements.
“Financial and investment scams are our priority to preempt issues and build confidence with businesses and investors, which is a key driver of Thailand’s digital economy,” according to him.
Superintendent of the High Tech Crime Division at the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau Pol Col Jessada Burinsuchat estimated that internet scams in Thailand accounted for an annual average of 200,000 cases and produced annual losses of 30 billion baht.
Out of a total of 14 types of fraud, the top five were either online shopping, tricking individuals into performing an activity for money, loan apps, or call centre or investment fraud.