Update: The Anti-Fake News Center reached out to Khaosod after this story was published to offer an explanation about what happened.
According to an official in charge of the Anti-Fake News Center, its intention was to inform the public that the message published by the Thai Embassy in London was not yet vetted by the Prime Minister’s Office as required by ministerial regulations, and therefore should be considered ‘unofficial’ statement. Due to procedural errors, the entry ended up incorrectly rating the Khaosod story as false, the official said.
The official added that the center had no intention to accuse Khaosod of spreading fake news, and promised to improve its protocols in combating false information in the future.
BANGKOK — Who fact checks the fact checkers?
A government initiative that set out to combat “fake news” in the media was forced to remove one of its entries on Tuesday after falsely rating a report by Khaosod website as hoax news.
The Anti-Fake News Center earlier today said Khaosod Online made a false claim in its report that the Thai Embassy in London said Thai nationals who traveled to the United Kingdom may be quarantined for up to 14 days if they show symptoms of coronavirus infection.
In fact, the statement was taken from a Facebook page run by the Thai Embassy in London. The statement said those who have fever, coughing, and respiratory difficulties may be held for medical checkup.
It also urged Thai nationals to avoid unnecessary travels to the United Kingdom while the virus outbreak is ongoing.
But on its website, the Anti-Fake News Center branded Khaosod report as false and said such measures are not in place.
Khaosod is part of Matichon Publishing Group, the same company that owns Khaosod English.
When reached for comment, an official at the Anti-Fake News Center, which is operated by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, said the Thai Embassy’s Facebook page is a fake one. An official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to Khaosod the page is indeed run by its London mission.
The center later removed the entry without any explanation. The center did not make any attempt to reach out to Khaosod editorial team before rating the Khaosod report as false.
The state-sponsored fact checkers were part of the Ministry of Digital Economy’s effort to counter misinformation on social media. But critics raised concerns that the center could be weaponized against legitimate news coverage deemed unfavorable by the government.