BANGKOK — The army chief has recommended people watch a Netflix documentary about how social media can be weaponized to turn the tide of public opinion – it’s happening in Thailand, he says.
Gen. Apirat Kongsompong told press Tuesday that Thais should watch Netflix’s “The Great Hack” to guard themselves against politicians clouding their minds through social media.
“Watch this film. It has similarities to Thailand,” he said. “Political parties can use social media as a propaganda weapon, with youths as their target. The young will absorb information unknowingly, and political parties will exploit it.”
Apirat said he is currently writing a paper on how social media affects Thai society, economics, culture, and politics, which he promised to finish toward the end of August.
“The Great Hack” is a Netflix documentary about the 2018 Cambridge Analytica hacking scandal, in which the company was found to have harvested the data of millions of Facebook accounts to influence opinions through political advertising.
In the aftermath of the March 2019 election, many Thais cried foul that the election was riddled with misformation and fraud. Junta proxy Phalang Pracharath Party came out on top, allowing Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha to become PM after five years as junta leader. His final challenger was Future Forward party head Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, whose party is popular with younger voters.
Apirat isn’t one to shy away from recommending media. In February during campaign season, the hardline royalist recommended that a Pheu Thai Party candidate listen to the anti-Communist anthem, “Nuk Paen Din” or “Scum of the Earth.”