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Thailand threatens to ban Facebook over misleading scam ads | CBC News

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Thailand is threatening to try to shut down Facebook in the country, saying the social media platform does not do enough to screen the legitimacy of the advertisements it runs, which has led to hundreds of thousands of people falling victim to financial scams.

Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, minister of Digital Economy and Society, said the government is ready to go to court by the end of the month in a move that could see the social media platform shut down in the country.

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

With a population of 66 million, Facebook owner Meta counts more than 50 million users in the country, the government said. Within that, the government says more than 300,000 people have fallen prey to scams on the platform promising large financial returns.

The scams, which promise daily returns of up to 30 per cent, often imply a celebrity endorsement or that they comply with various regulatory bodies.

Thanakamanusorn said the government had made repeated requests for more than 5,000 advertisements it had identified as scams to be taken down by Facebook but the problem persisted.

In a statement on the ministry’s website, the Thai government said it has prosecuted 364 individuals for running cryptocurrency scams in a recent crackdown but wants the platform itself to do more to help.

“They can’t do business like this,” Thanakamanusorn told Reuters.

In March of last year, Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission launched a legal action against Meta on similar grounds “alleging that they engaged in false, misleading or deceptive conduct by publishing scam advertisements featuring prominent Australian public figures.”

Meta did not reply to a request for comment.

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