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Election Bombshell: Google & LINE Step Up To Combat Misinformation in Thai Elections – Can They Save Democracy?

Tech giant Google is introducing new tools specifically designed for Thailand’s upcoming general election, while LINE Thailand encourages politicians to utilize their “Official Accounts” for voter communication. Both initiatives aim to combat the spread of misinformation during the election process.

Saranee Boonritthongchai, Country Marketing Manager at Google Thailand, expressed Google’s understanding of the importance of providing Thais with relevant and useful information for decision-making during the election period. Google Trends Thailand General Election page was recently launched, making it easier for the public and media to access search trends related to political campaigns.

Boonritthongchai said, “We’ve focused our efforts on supporting the 52 million Thais who are expected to cast their vote and more than 3 million first-time voters in the election this year by helping them connect to useful and relevant election-related information online, ensuring that our products offer unbiased, authoritative and timely information.” She added that Google has actively trained and engaged journalists and newsrooms in delivering authoritative and credible news ahead of the election cycle, in order to curb misinformation at the source.

The policies of Google Ads and YouTube’s Community Guidelines strive to maintain a clear understanding of digital best practices and user responsibilities during elections, said Ms. Saranee. Google enforces policies related to misinformation regarding elections, Covid-19, and vaccines across its platforms.

Mukpim Anantachai, Head of YouTube Partnerships for Thailand and Vietnam, stated that election integrity is a top priority for the company. Google aims to ensure that the correct policies and systems are in place to provide support during the election. YouTube focuses on connecting people to authoritative and quality information while removing content that breaches its standards as swiftly as possible, relying on machine learning and the expertise of trained content reviewers.

Ms. Mukpim explained that YouTube’s goal is to strike a balance between protecting the community from harmful content while allowing a diversity of viewpoints to flourish on the platform. During the fourth quarter of 2022, content that violated guidelines made up 0.09-0.11% of views on YouTube. More than 5.6 million videos and 6.4 million channels were removed for contravening YouTube’s Community Guidelines. Of these, over 69,000 videos from Thailand were removed.

Additionally, LINE Thailand is recommending that political parties and candidates use its verified Official Accounts (OA) to engage with the electorate. Messages generated by politicians or political parties via LINE OA will appear under the politics category. Advertising campaigns on Line Ads are available, as long as messaging complies with the laws and regulations set forth by the Election Commission.

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