World

Facebook feature creates bogus bomb scare in Bangkok

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, such as a terror attack or a natural disaster, in their area.

But it appeared to misfire late on Tuesday, 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 but linked to articles about a bombing in Bangkok in August last year.

After numerous residents marked themselves as safe, the alert was deactivated around an hour later, leaving netizens relieved but also frustrated over the false alarm.

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 spokesman said in a statement to AFP, adding that a "trusted third party" had confirmed the incident. - AFP

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