Fake alert on Facebook sets off bomb scare in Bangkok

Updated: Dec 29, 2016, 11:06 IST | Agencies |

Facebook sparked fear – and anger – among Thailand’s social media users after its Safety Check feature triggered a false bomb alert in Bangkok

The fake safety alert
The fake safety alert

Bangkok: Facebook sparked fear – and anger – among Thailand’s social media users after its Safety Check feature triggered a false bomb alert in Bangkok. The check-in feature allows users to signal to friends that they are safe after an event in their area such as a terror attack or natural disaster.

But it appeared to misfire yesterday, creating an alert called “The Explosion in Bangkok” that said a blast in the capital had been confirmed by “multiple sources”. The page gave no other details about the incident but linked to articles about a bombing in Bangkok in August 2015, which killed 20 people.

After numerous residents marked themselves safe, the alert was deactivated around an hour later at 10pm, leaving netizens relieved but also frustrated. Facebook swiftly defended the algorithm, saying the alert was activated by reports of small explosives that a protester had thrown near Government House earlier on Tuesday.

The incident, which caused no injuries or damage, was covered in the local press. “Safety Check was activated yesterday in Thailand following an explosion,” a Facebook spokesperson said, adding that a “trusted third party” had confirmed the incident.

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