9 arrested in Thailand for posting election ‘fake news’
Nine people have been arrested in Thailand for spreading “fake news” on Facebook with posts about sacked election officials and bogus ballots in the wake of controversial polls in the kingdom.
Junta-ruled Thailand held its first vote since a 2014 coup on Sunday, with a military-backed party and its main rival linked to a self-exiled billionaire both claiming the right to govern.
A Thai official said Thursday that nine people were arrested for sharing fake news on Facebook claiming two election commissioners had been sacked and that 600,000 illegitimate ballots were mixed into the vote count.
They were charged Wednesday under the draconian Computer Crimes Act “for sharing or onpassing false information”, said Siriwat Deephor, a spokesman for the Computer Crime Suppression Division Police.
“They confessed and said they didn’t know that it was fake news,” he added.
The accused face up to five years in jail and a $3,100 fine.
The Election Commission has said it would stagger announcements of the official results in the coming weeks, claiming “human error” in calculating ballots in some areas.
Preliminary figures show the military-aligned Phalang Pracharat party leading in the popular vote with nearly eight million ballots.