PROBLEMS caused by information circulated via social media are worsening matters, given the amount |of time that Thais spend online.
According to the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), a public organisation, Thais usually spend around seven hours a day online and most of that is spent on social media.
This phenomenon has had an impact on many businesses due to the time people are forced to spend on social media, especially content businesses, like news providers, bloggers and websites.
It has also affected the way people get news and other information, with rumours sometimes mistaken for genuine news reports.
Nowadays, many people do not get their news by directly accessing a media organisation’s website. Rather, it comes via their social media timeline, with news shared among “friends”.
They click to read a news story and many do not bother to look at the URL of the link. People often don’t know where the news comes from because they may not care about the source of news unless the content appeals to them in a human interest sense.
This behaviour has resulted in the launch of websites that provide news with 100-per-cent sourced material. A lot of copied content comes from official media websites, mostly online papers, and is simply stolen.
The websites with sourced copy often do not provide an accessible referral link (they give a link that cannot be accessed by clicking on it] and post their content on social media with emotive headlines – a lot of the time completely changed from the original one – in order to attract attention like newspapers do.
So why do these websites do this? It is obviously done to attract traffic, as the volume of people who click on to a site can be monetised.
The high number of people who consume news via a social media timeline has attracted the attention of official media websites, which are using arresting headlines and photos to try and grab people’s attention.
Digital literacy is challenging Thai society. Educating young Thais and new Internet users – people who usually use the Internet for the first time via a mobile phone – on how to use the Internet and social media in a proper way seems to be a priority for relevant organisations, not only the government but also the private sector, schools and families.
However, more than negative information is obviously read on social media. The beauty of social media is it gives people information instantly and there are many expert posts. It is free and often useful content.
So, be concise when surfing social media and careful when consuming information. But, of course, what you read is always your choice.