Thailand’s top 10 stories on social media for 2022

PHOTO: What was popular on Thai social media this year? (via CTN News)

Social media in Thailand has had a busy year full of sensational scandals and news stories. What were the people of Thailand talking about most in 2022? Wisesight, an online analytics company used its Zocial Eye tools to analyse social media activity between January 1 and December 20 of this year in Thailand to see what got people buzzing online. Here’s the top 10 list, as reported by Nation Thailand:

10. The Southeast Asian Games

In May this year, athletes from all over Southeast Asia convened in Hanoi, Vietnam to participate in the 31st SEA Games. The #ซีเกมส์2022 hashtag was trending on Twitter and there were 34.38 million engagements online. Thailand won the second most medals of any country in the competition.

9. The Soft Power of Mango Sticky Rice

At the world-famous Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival held in California in April, Thai rapper Danupha “Milli” Khanatheerakul showed just how convincing the lure of Thai food can be. With the rise of social media influencers, marketers have craved “soft power” promotion. Instead of the hard-sell advertising techniques of the past, soft power makes people desire services or products by seeing people using them online and wanting the same.

Millie performed a set full of twerking and sexy outfits but paused in the middle to take a bowl of mango sticky rice and eat a scoop. A total of 38.49 million engagements came online after the hashtag #milliliveatcoachella trended on Twitter and people’s interest in the popular Thai dessert and Thailand itself spiked.

Danupha Milli Khanatheerakul
Danupha Milli Khanatheerakul

8. Nong Bua Lamphu School Massacre

While mass shootings and school shootings are common occurrences in the United States, they’re extremely rare in Thailand. The tragedy that unfolded in October when a policeman, fired over alleged drug charges, killed his family and himself after first rampaging the school devastated the country. In total, 37 people died, including very young and sleeping children.

The hashtag #กราดยิงหนองบัวลําภู (Nong Bua Lamphu shooting massacre) trended on Twitter and 42.12 million people engaged in the woeful story.

7. Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt

In May, charismatic Chadchart took office after winning the election to become Bangkok’s new governor. He has been seemingly ever-present around Bangkok and all over social media in Thailand taking action to address the problems of the capital city. In total, 44.87 million engagements retaliated involving the governor. His Facebook page has 2.6 million followers and each of his posts tends to engage an average of 270,000 people.

6. “One Man and the River”

In October, 54.37 million people followed along as famous Thai actor and singer Phakin “Tono” Khamwilaisak ran a unique fundraiser. To help Nakhon Phanom Hospital in Thailand and Khammouane Hospital in Laos, he vowed to swim across the Mekong River dividing the two countries and separating the two hospitals for charity.

Generous donors sponsored his swim on October 22 to the tune of 87 million baht raised to purchase medical supplies for the hospitals on both sides of the border. People followed his multi-part swim online, praising the aid he brought to the hospitals and many fearing for his safety during the swim.

Tono raises 40 million baht in a charity swim across the Mekong. (via MGR Online, Google)
Tono raises 40 million baht in a charity swim across the Mekong. (via MGR Online, Google)

5. Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Russian forces’ shocking invasion of Ukraine in February has been news closely followed by people worldwide invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces in February has been news closely followed by people all around the world. Though Thailand is far from the conflict physically, Thai people followed the conflict as it had economic effects, driving inflation and hurting tourism from a normally popular segment tourism market.

In all, social media in Thailand saw 61.58 million engagements regarding the Ukraine war.

4. Miss Grand International 2022

Proving that the ugliness of war can never trump beauty, the Miss Grand International beauty pageant got 35 million more engagements than the Ukraine war. There were plenty of talks online when Isabella Novaes Menin of Brazil took the title on October 25, but there was also a lot of engagement on TikTok and Twitter around April 30, when the attitude of and remarks by Miss Grand Thailand Engfa Waraha went viral. In total, the pageant drew 96.02 million engagements.

3. Floods in Thailand

Thailand is no stranger to flooding, with the wet season bringing torrential downpours and swelling rivers and bodies of water. But this year, flooding was especially bad as tropical storm Noru tour through the country wreaking wet havoc. Some 99.52 million engagements talked about the flooding throughout the country, with the floods in Ubon Ratchathani that were particularly bad getting the most attention.

Floods in Thailand
Floods in Thailand

2. World Cup Fever

The absolute biggest event in the sporting world this year, the 22nd FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and all the controversy and thrills that came with it was the second most popular topic for social media in Thailand in 2022. The games were played from November 28 to December 18, but even outside the excitement of the matches, controversy drew engagement.

In Thailand, the biggest panic that got a large portion of the 118.5 million engagements was local disputes over broadcasting rights. The Sports Authority of Thailand responsible for acquiring the rights ended up having to take additional funding from True Corporation when the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission contributions were not enough.

1. Tangmo

Every other new story, special event, catastrophe and tragedy paled in comparison to the death of the famous TV actress Tangmo when it came to driving engagement on social media in Thailand. More than double the number of engagements than the number two biggest story of the year, 248.33 million engagements discussed the death and the controversy surrounding it.

The 37 year old actress was reported to have fallen off a speedboat on February 24 on the Chao Phraya River. Her body was found two days later. On April 26, police decided it was not a murder and that negligence and recklessness were to blame for the tragedy.

That didn’t stop Thai people online from discussing every aspect of the case. Debates and theories of what might have happened spiralled. People questioned the quality of the police investigation, called for criminal charges against six suspects, and even discussed the attitude of Tangmo’s mother.


What was your favourite or most engaging story of 2022?

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.