Ministry Wants Social Media Accounts Linked To ID Cards To Combat Fake News

DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn
DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn

Security agencies and the Digital Economy and Society (DES) Ministry are seeking ways to supervise usage of social media and are considering linking user’s registration on platforms with their ID cards as a way to combat fake news, illicit content and fraud.

The move is also meant to support e-commerce activities on social media platforms.

A regulation is being drafted to address the issue and it is expected to become a subordinate rule under the Computer Crimes Act.

DES Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn told the media that the move is based on concerns raised by security agencies as well as the ministry wanting to promote the digital economy and eliminate fake news and illicit content on digital platforms.

He said the ministry must seek the cooperation of social medial platforms if additional functions need to be embedded in their systems.

“It is too soon to talk about details of the move such as implementation,” Mr Thanakamanusorn said.

He said there is a lot of fake news and illicit content on social media platforms.

Some content has led to prosecution, while other people have been issued a court order for the content removal.

Some individuals who post illicit content use avatars to hide their identities and use fake e-mail addresses or other people’s telephone numbers to register.

These practices make it difficult to track people behind the content when the law is broken, said Mr Thanakamanusorn.

He also wants to see social media companies establish an office in Thailand.

Mr Thanakamanusorn said a working group is in the process of drafting regulations and guidelines to address the problem.

The work is expected to be completed in June.

A source at the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) who requested anonymity said the NBTC’s legal team has begun meeting to consider conditions for the draft regulations.

On 24th May, the DES Ministry held a press briefing on the arrest of six people for allegedly breaching the Computer Crimes Act in connection with their posts concerning the country’s fight against COVID-19.

Another 12 people were ordered to delete content or face further action.

A telecom veteran who requested anonymity said to register for social media platforms, an e-mail address and a telephone number is already required.

At present, all mobile phone numbers in Thailand – both prepaid and postpaid systems – must be registered with ID cards or passports under the NBTC’s regulation.

“This is already enough information for the state to track those behind misdeeds,” said the veteran.