Govt to meet FB of­fi­cials to talk vi­o­lence preven­tion


A House com­mit­tee will in­vite rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Face­book Thai­land and other agen­cies for a sec­ond time to dis­cuss ways to pre­vent vi­o­lence on so­cial me­dia next week in the wake of the shoot­ing ram­page in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Bhum­jaithai Party MP Set­tapong Mal­isuwan, who chairs a House com­mit­tee on com­mu­ni­ca­tions, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, and dig­i­tal econ­omy and so­ci­ety, said that the com­mit­tee will next week dis­cuss mea­sures to pre­vent the im­proper use of so­cial me­dia dur­ing vi­o­lent in­ci­dents fol­low­ing the mass shoot­ing which left 30 people dead and 58 wounded last Satur­day.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Face­book Thai­land, the Min­istry of Dig­i­tal Econ­omy and So­ci­ety, and the Na­tional Broad­cast­ing and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Com­mis­sion will be in­vited, Col Set­tapong said.

The com­mit­tee had to can­cel its meet­ing pre­vi­ously be­cause rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Face­book Thai­land did not show up, he said, adding that he ex­pected them to give in­for­ma­tion next week.

He said that Face­book is a plat­form which is very pop­u­lar among Thai users, and its in­for­ma­tion is cru­cial to help pre­vent vi­o­lent in­ci­dents in the fu­ture.

Col Set­tapong also ques­tioned whether Face­book keeps Thai users’ per­sonal data on servers based in Thai­land. In­for­ma­tion kept on servers abroad is still pro­tected by the 2019 Thai­land’s Per­sonal Data Pro­tec­tion Act, he added.

The planned meet­ing is to be held af­ter Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakra­panth Thomma, the shooter, streamed his ram­page on Face­book Live and posted a selfie show­ing him hold­ing a ri­fle. “Tired, I can barely move my fingers,” he said on a video posted at 7.20pm.

How­ever, his Face­book page was taken down a few mo­ments later. Face­book later con­firmed that it had re­moved the ac­count and would also take down “any other vi­o­lat­ing con­tent re­lated to this at­tack”.

“Our hearts go out to the vic­tims, their fam­i­lies and the com­mu­nity af­fected by this tragedy in Thai­land. There is no place on Face­book for people who com­mit this kind of atroc­ity, nor do we al­low people to praise or sup­port this at­tack,” a Face­book rep­re­sen­ta­tive said.

But the gov­ern­ment claimed that it was the Min­istry of Dig­i­tal Econ­omy and So­ci­ety that asked Face­book to take the at­tacker’s Face­book page off­line first.

Mean­while, Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice Min­is­ter Te­wan Lip­ta­pal­lop said yes­ter­day the com­mit­tee over­see­ing the PM’s Of­fice dis­as­ter-re­lief fund will give 1 mil­lion baht to each of the fam­i­lies of the 27 dead vic­tims in the shoot­ing in­ci­dent, 200,000 baht to the se­ri­ously in­jured each, and 100,000 baht to the slightly in­jured each.

The com­pen­sa­tion will be paid to them by Tues­day, Mr Te­wan said.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, au­thor­i­ties will stop re­ceiv­ing pub­lic do­na­tions for the fam­i­lies of vic­tims of the shoot­ing ram­page by to­mor­row as do­na­tions have al­ready topped 68 mil­lion baht.

Pro­vin­cial gover­nor Wichian Chan­tha­ra­n­othai yes­ter­day handed over an­other 700,000 baht to each of the fam­i­lies of the dead vic­tims. To­tal do­na­tions were at 68.2 mil­lion baht as of 8am yes­ter­day, he said.

Ear­lier, a panel dis­trib­uted 300,000 baht to each of the 26 fam­i­lies, a to­tal of 7.8 mil­lion baht, and 2.2 mil­lion baht to the fam­i­lies of those in­jured, or 100,000 baht each.

The panel agreed to in­crease fi­nan­cial aid for the fam­i­lies of the dead to one mil­lion baht each, from 300,000 baht, as do­na­tions ex­ceeded the tar­get of 50 mil­lion baht. The ad­di­tional 700,000 baht was dis­trib­uted yes­ter­day.

On Thurs­day, the gover­nor said no as­sis­tance would be given to the fam­i­lies of the gun­man or the colonel and woman he killed at a house dur­ing a dis­pute on Feb 8, be­fore he be­gan his bloody ram­page down­town.

Mean­while, ac­tivist Srisuwan Janya yes­ter­day pe­ti­tioned the Of­fice of the Om­buds­man to in­ves­ti­gate the De­fence Min­istry, the army, the Royal Thai Po­lice and the Min­istry of Dig­i­tal Econ­omy and So­ci­ety for their al­leged fail­ure to pre­vent and deal with the shoot­ing tragedy.

He ac­cused the Min­istry of Dig­i­tal Econ­omy and So­ci­ety of giv­ing false in­for­ma­tion by claim­ing that it had asked Face­book to close the page of the gun­man, though Face­book said that it had closed the page it­self and then in­formed the min­istry.

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