Everyone knew that they existed and now they are caught.
It must have been embarrassing news for the Royal Thai Army, especially for the top brass in charge of the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) to wake up to.
Now they have to explain why they are using taxpayers’ money to conduct information operations (IO) on their own civilians.
Twitter said they have found 926 accounts that were used by the army to “amplifying pro-RTA and pro-government content” and “engaging in behavior targeting prominent political opposition figures”.
The company’s archives of tweets from the network dates back to October 2018.
Now Thailand’s name joins the likes of Russia, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia who love to spy on their own citizens in order to get rid of dissidents.
It was also a slap back at Buddhipongse Punnakanta, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, who is trying to sue them because they are not blocking content that the ministry deemed to be illegal.
What will the minister do now?
Will he go after the army-backed network and charge them with the Computer Crime Act for spreading fake news that are creating conflict within the society?
The Stanford Internet Observatory’s report on the leak has provided more information. They said that of the 926 accounts, only 455 actively tweeted, producing a total of 21,385 tweets before they were taken down.
They said the network was used mainly to promote pro-government and pro-military positions and accounts on Twitter and to attack political opposition, particularly the Future Forward Party (FFP) before they were dissolved.
To top things of, the report from Stanford added that though the program was coordinated by the army it was ultimately a “low-impact operation”.
So not only that they were caught, they were also exposed for being terrible at what they were doing.
“Most accounts has no followers and the majority of tweets received no engagement,” the report said.
Sounds like the Royal Thai Army alright.