Cops will conduct an “in-depth investigation” to see if hackers campaigning against the harsh new computer crime law had anything to do with Tuesday’s false bomb report that activated Facebook’s safety check feature. They will also investigate if anyone intended to cause panic by creating or spreading the fake news report of an explosion in Bangkok, Pol Col Kritsana Pattanacharoen, the deputy spokesman, told a press briefing on Wednesday.
He also said that Section 14 of the Computer Crime Act criminalises importing false data into a computer system, and anyone found guilty would be liable to a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a fine of 100,000 baht.
“People should not panic and should check information [on social media] for clarity every time,” Pol Col Kritsana said.
Thousands of Thai internet users clicked on the Facebook safety check window “The Explosion in Bangkok, Thailand” to show they were safe. It was initially reported to have been triggered by a false news report that appeared on the website Bangkok Informer, that there had been an explosion somewhere in the city on Tuesday night.
Facebook Thailand defended the triggering of the false alarm in a statement released on Wednesday afternoon. It claimed the activation was prompted by a one-man protest involving the throwing of “giant firecrackers” into the Government House compound on Tuesday morning, and that a “third-party entity” enabled its safety check feature in the capital.