The Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry has been instructed by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon to strictly monitor websites and social media platforms that contain illicit content.
The deputy PM told the ministry that those involved should be prosecuted and be made examples of in public.
The DES Ministry was also told to work with state agencies to develop new and existing software and tools that can help gather evidence and find culprits.
The order was given as Gen Wongsuwon visited the DES Ministry on Thursday to follow up on its operations.
There, the deputy prime minister delivered policies regarding the ministry’s core responsibility and digital economy projects.
Speaking at the meeting, Gen Wongsuwon said the government appreciates the performance of the DES Ministry because it responds well with government policies.
He said the DES Ministry is the government’s major force that plays a part in the economy, society and security of Thailand.
However, improper and illicit content has spread through social media and is playing a role in fuelling social conflicts, he said, noting this is especially true for those sending inciting messages and improper expressions.
Gen Wongsuwon said the DES’ creation of the Anti-Fake News Centre (AFNC) last year was the right move as the group will help cope with the current situation of disinformation.
“The AFNC makes it difficult for anti-government people to commit wrongdoings,” he said.
DES Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, present at the meeting with Gen Wongsuwon said the ministry, in collaboration with police and the courts, can remove posts deemed detrimental to security within two days.
A court could take two days to make a decision on illicit content and the ministry will notify online platforms to remove or block the content after, he said.
Since 14th October, when fresh anti-government demonstrations began, about 400,000 URLs were found to have been involved in wrongdoings, Mr Punnakanta said.
“More than 1,000 URLs are in the process of having those involved persecuted,” he said.
Gen Wongsuwon said fake news is concerning and all sectors must cooperate in dealing with them.