Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) is taking steps to shut down Facebook in the country, citing harmful investment scams causing economic and public security concerns.
Court petition filed.
The move to petition the court comes after a sharp rise in scams where fraudsters buy ads through Facebook and trick people into investing by impersonating stock exchange and SEC symbols, among other tactics.
“Neither the SEC nor the SET offer such investments,” states DES to clarify the situation. The ministry explains that the scams frequently peddle fake news to deceive the public into investing, and victims will not receive a refund in terms of compensation or principal.
Cyber thieves use various strategies to fool individuals into parting with their money, from trading digital coins through applications or websites to investing in high-yield lending companies, gold stocks, and more.
Often, online thieves impersonate well-known financial and investment personalities to swindle victims. The ministry has already asked Facebook to address the issue and has requested the blocking of over 5,301 fraudulent ads and fake pages.
“DES is in the process of compiling evidence from offenders on the Facebook platform to submit to the court to shut down Facebook by the end of this month,” says Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, Minister of Digital Economy and Society. He adds that if Facebook wants to do business in Thailand, it must show responsibility to Thai society.
Victims of fraud.
Chaiwut warns that more than 200,000 victims, or about 95 percent of the 300,000 victims, have suffered over 100 million baht ($2.7M) in damages due to the scams.
The DES advises the public to be vigilant against social media investment solicitations and urges them to check the facts from the cited agencies or related agencies before spreading such information. It also provides a list of common tactics used by scammers to cheat unsuspecting individuals.
According to the Computer Crime Act and the Technology Crime Prevention and Suppression Act, service providers can face heavy penalties for supporting or knowingly committing fraud, including imprisonment and fines.
According to DES, before the Cyber Crime Suppression Act, an average of 790 technology crimes occurred each day. After the Act, the cases dropped to an average of 591 per day. The Royal Thai Police has prosecuted 364 offenders related to these crimes.
The public is urged to report suspicious behavior to the Anti-Fake News Center via the hotline, website, or Twitter account.
Thailand banned the use of crypto payments in April this year.