Thailand threatens Facebook with legal action over alleged scams

By Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat

BANGKOK (Reuters) -Thailand’s digital minister plans to ask a court to shut down Meta Platforms’ Facebook in Southeast Asia’s second largest economy unless it takes action over scams that have affected more than 200,000 people, he said on Monday.

“We are asking the court to close Facebook, not allowing it to provide services in Thailand if they let these fake pages scam people,” Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn told Reuters.

In a statement, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society said it had made repeated requests for advertisements it had identified as scams to be taken down by Facebook but the problem persisted and it would seek court intervention.

Meta did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Ministry spokesperson Wetang Phuangsup told Reuters officials were currently gathering evidence of wrongdoing by Facebook that would be presented before court.

“If there is a lot of wrongdoing, the court could close down pages and accounts. Or the court could close the entire platform,” he said.

The ministry said scams perpetrated on Facebook included luring users to invest in fake companies, faking government bodies like the Securities and Exchange Commission and trading in digital currencies.

“They can’t do business like this,” Chaiwut said.

(Reporting by Panu Wongcha-umWriting by Martin Petty and Devjyot GhoshalEditing by David Goodman and Mark Potter)