More than 30,000 people have joined Collaborative Fact-Checking (Cofact) Thailand to combat fake news during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth), Cofact Thailand, the International Fact-Checking Network and other anti-fake news organisations yesterday held a seminar to mark International Fact-Checking Day 2021 in Bangkok.
The group declared that the period from 2nd April 2021 – 2nd April 2022 should be promoted as the “year of fact-checking”.
Pairoj Saonuam, the assistant to the CEO of ThaiHealth, told the seminar that International Fact-Checking Day was observed on 2nd April every year and praised the country for successfully fighting fake news in the digital era.
ThaiHealth is behind a tool called Collaborative Fact-Checking (Cofact) on the website cofact.org and Line account @cofact to check whether news is real or fake.
Now joined by more than 30,000 people, Cofact Thailand has expanded into a community in which all groups of people come to assess the validity of information circulating in society.
“Fake news often goes viral. Even The World Health Organization warned that fake news exacerbated the COVID-19 situation,” said Mr Saonuam.
Cofact Thailand has published more than 350 articles and easy-to-understand infographics to protect people against fake news while preventing the COVID-19 situation in Thailand from getting worse, he said.
Cofact Thailand co-founder Supinya Klangnarong said in light of the current crisis it was crucial for each country to have people collaborate in fact-checking and throughout this promotional year, many activities and seminars would be held in Thailand.
Also yesterday, the Faculty of Communication Arts at Chulalongkorn University launched the website Thai D.I. Machine (www.thaidimachine.org) to provide fact-checking services for the general public.
Assoc Prof Phnom Kleechaya from CU’s Digital Intelligence and Literacy Research Unit, said the website assessed whether the information input by the user was real or fake by using a natural language processing technique.
Thai D.I. Machine could help delay or reduce the spread of fake news to minimise the damage caused by it, the academic said, adding that people would become more aware of the validity of information over time with regular use of the service.