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It was a very good year – Annual Report for 2018, The Thaiger

The Thaiger

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It was a very good year – Annual Report for 2018, The Thaiger | The Thaiger

by Tim Newton, CEO – The Thaiger

Firstly, we’d like to thank everyone who has been a valuable part of a mega 12 months for The Thaiger in 2018. It’s been an often-rocky ride but ended up with all the pieces falling into place with the stage set for a massive 2019.

Whereas we started 2018 as a brash media start-up, we’ve ended the year, statistically, as a local leader with audiences continuing to be attracted by our fresh approach, quick delivery and accurate, relevant content. Whilst some Thai media are fighting to maintain circulation and prop-up their old business models, The Thaiger has truly thrived in 2018 as we relentlessly, and sometimes recklessly, keep trying new ideas and new technology.

This year was a year of some fundamental changes to our coverage and scope. Not simply a voice for the island of Phuket anymore, The Thaiger became a national news player, whilst still retaining our Phuket roots and excellent coverage for the island community.

The start of April 2018 also saw the transition of the Phuket Gazette/The Thaiger brand to simply ‘The Thaiger’. Changing our domain was a major effort for our IT team and just the first of many successes for the best IT team in Thailand. As before, The Thaiger will continue to be custodian of the vast 23 year resource of Phuket Gazette articles which readers can continue to search in our website.

It was a very good year - Annual Report for 2018, The Thaiger | News by The Thaiger

Whilst we were attracting around 200,000 page views per month in April this year, we end the year with nearly one million page views per month and the growth will continue in 2019. If you were a newspaper in days past, getting a 500% growth in ‘circulation’ over a year would be a major achievement.

2018 also saw us reaching out to a new Thai-language audience with a fresh new approach to coverage not seen by Thai readers in the past. This will also continue to evolve and grow in 2019.

Whilst 2018 has seen consolidation and growth in Thaiger social media, that will move into hyperdrive in 2019 as we reach out on all the favorite social media platforms with more, engaging and better posts – in Thai and English.

In staff numbers The Thaiger has grown from five at the start of the year to 14 at the end of 2018. Our home office in Kathu is now a main road premises in Kamala which we share with our digital media partners. Three more staff join the Thaiger team in January 2019.

The original Thaiger product – The Thaiger 102.75 FM – has cemented itself as the island’s choice for local information, reliability, great music and its commitment to local news, seven days a week. Garry, Gerry and Tom were a formidable and professional core team throughout the year.

If there was one feature this year it would be the amazing success of our coverage of the Tham Luang cave rescues. Apart from the story being big international news, it also launched The Thaiger to many, many new followers. For a week we were Thailand’s preferred social media source (in English) beating our much larger and better resourced competitors. Whilst it wasn’t planned to be that way, we hit a note with our cable TV-like approach to updates and coverage. It was a milestone for The Thaiger in 2018.

It was a very good year - Annual Report for 2018, The Thaiger | News by The Thaiger

Looking into the 2019 crystal ball, thethaiger.com is planning 650% traffic growth in the next 12 months and has budgeted to grow bottomline earnings by 350%.

2019 will also see The Thaiger reach beyond the borders of Thailand and replicate our successful platform in other key markets in Southeast Asia. This, whilst we work to increase brand recognition amongst our key demographic in Thailand and attract more daily visitors.

You, the readers, listeners and viewers, are the only reason we do this every day. Your support, and sometimes your savage criticism, have helped to make our product better throughout 2018. Everything we do, daily, is to make the product more relevant and useful for YOU. The Thaiger is nothing without your trust in what we do.

Our sponsors make it all possible and we thank them for their faith in our product and the valuable finances that allow us to keep going. We look forward to continuing the journey with you into 2019.

Finally, as the past ‘front man’ for The Thaiger, I am very happy to be stepping back and allowing some of our new staff to take the limelight and share their talents in 2019. The company has reached the stage where it now requires a lot more hands-on management.

I would like to thank Mike, Noom, Garry, Gerry, Goongnang, Tom, Donna, Brennan, Paul, Darren, Paulie, Eugene, Pond, Mam and Uddy as well as our media partners The Nation and Newshawk Phuket. Also the many, many contributors and contractors that make up the extended Thaiger family.

We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable new year and look forward to serving all our customers and stakeholders better in 2019.

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Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

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Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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