Social media will once again become main channel of communication during the "Bangkok shutdown", Frost & Sullivan predicted.
In a statement, it said recently, a number of Thailand's national TV broadcasters and major newspapers have been under scrutiny from both sides for being unfair in their coverage of the shutdown. Therefore, as the protest continues, there is high possibility that traditional media will be targeted for occupation. This could result in diffeculty in communications or inaccessible to news on current events for Thai people.
However, it said there are key concerns regarding the role of social media in this particular event.
Teera Kanokkanjanarat, Senior Analyst from Frost & Sullivan states that, “This year social media websites and applications, such as Facebook and Line, have evolved from being either just a chat app or sharing tool to become major communication megaplatforms. These platforms offer services beyond simple chat conversation to free voice and video calls and sharing media on Timeline. We have approximately 18.5 millions Thai users on Facebook out of 25 millions total internet users in the country. Line also caught up with 18 millions users at the end of last year.”
As the protest may result in traditional media shutdown, people are ever more relying on these social media platforms to communicate and get updated on latest news.
Albeit its convenience, relying social media does come with caution, mainly the concerns of validity and authenticity of messages conveyed. Teera noted that people should be aware of the power.
“Social media is a powerful tool, not only as communication platform but also as a political tool. A news story shared by a trusted friend on Social Network can have the level of intimacy that no other digital channel can achieved. Before buying in on the message people must consider validity of content, if it comes from legitimate original sources, and its implication. Regardless of the content, once people share a story on social network, they also share a part of responsibility on its consequence.”