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Thailand Seeks to Shutdown Facebook Services After 200,000 People Scammed

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Thailand Seeks to Shutdown Facebook Services After 200,000 People Scammed

Thailand’s Digital Economy and Society will seek a court order to close Facebook services in the kingdom later this month, accusing the operator of failing to ban fraudulent adverts that have caused significant harm to people.

Minister Mr. Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn stated during a press briefing on Monday that his government attempted, but failed, to request that Facebook prohibit false adverts.

As a result, he intends to seek a court by the end of this month to order the shutdown of Facebook services in Thailand within seven days, claiming that Facebook did not check the people who purchased advertising space.

According to the minister, false advertising featured invites to investment projects promising excessively large rewards with references to well-known persons and successful investors, as well as the logos of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Thai Stock Exchange.

There were also adverts for things that were not delivered or were delivered incorrectly, according to Mr. Chaiwut.

According to the minister, there were around 200,000 victims of such fake adverts on Facebook, with the total damage exceeding 100 billion baht.

Scam ads on Facebook featuring Australian TV personalities

In March of this year, Australia’s broadcast industry organisation chastised Facebook’s parent firm Meta for its handling of scam ads involving TV stars such as David Koch and Karl Stefanovic, claiming that the company’s response time is insufficient and harms broadcaster reputations.

Free TV Australia, which represents broadcasters such as Seven, Nine, and Ten, stated in a submission to a Senate inquiry into digital platforms earlier this month that scam ads featuring their networks’ stars without the network or star’s knowledge or authorization, as well as fake news stories, had been causing harm to consumers in recent years.

Scam Facebook ads featured fake endorsements from Nine news reporter Georgie Gardner for an app, a fake account purporting to be former Today Show host Allison Langdon encouraging people to enter a scam competition seeking bank details, and scam cryptocurrency ads featuring Today host Karl Stefanovic and Sunrise host David Koch.

“His image was used as one of many fake celebrity endorsements that baited and lured users into scam bitcoin investments,” according to Free TV.

Scammers, according to the organisation, had also constructed phoney Seven-branded Facebook profiles and responded to users in the comment areas on Seven’s Facebook postings, claiming they’d won a prize.

In March of last year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission filed a case in federal court alleging that Meta “aided and abetted” celebrity scam ads that cost some Australians hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The ACCC stated in its own contribution to the inquiry that losses from scam ads on social media had nearly doubled from $49 million in 2020 to $92 million in 2021. Because most victims do not report their losses to Scamwatch, these statistics are likely to be significantly higher.

The complaint was still to be heard, and despite the regulator’s action, Free TV Australia stated that Meta’s takedown protocols were “inadequate.”

“Fake advertisements quickly reappear after being removed.” “These ineffective takedown processes harm broadcasters’ business reputations as well as the personal reputations of the misrepresented celebrities and media personalities,” the association stated.

“Despite the significant consumer harm from these scams, as well as the reputational harm to Free TV members, digital platforms are consistently slow in responding to takedown requests.”
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According to Free TV, social media platforms should be obligated to verify that the content they publish is not “fake, damaging, misleading, or defamatory,” and they should implement a social media code that explicitly targets scam ads.

According to a Meta spokeswoman, scammers are a problem all throughout the internet, not just on social media platforms.

“We’re committed to protecting the integrity of our services and devote significant resources and technological solutions to protect our community from fake accounts and other inauthentic behaviour,” added the spokesperson.

The ACCC recommended to the government in its fifth interim report arising from the digital platforms inquiry in November that the digital platforms should appropriately verify advertisers to reduce the risk of scams, and implement a “notice-and-action” mechanism that would require the platforms to take action when a user reports a scam. This week is the deadline for the sixth interim report.

 

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