CHIANG RAI, 15 November 2018: I have just deleted 20 TAT emails all in one go.
It must be an auspicious day to send out press releases as I received a batch of them all within a couple of minutes purportedly from the Tourism Authority of Thailand if I didn’t know better.
I call this anonymous faker the “phantom plagiarist” who masquerades under the name ‘TAT’, but recycles negative reports linked to the country’s tourism, the kind of stuff the TAT would like to forget, or sweep under the carpet.
Male or female who knows, the impersonator must gain satisfaction from copying and pasting the worst stories on Thailand and blasting them off to media outlets under the guise of the TAT signature.
This tiresome and anonymous scribe popped negative news on Thailand into my email box on a daily basis until around last March. He or she even posted comments on TTR Weekly’s website, always under the same alias. Then the messages passed away. I thought the scribe had also been hit by a bolt of lightning.
But on reflection, I suspect efforts to track down the IP address and identify, were getting too close for comfort and the faker took a vacation. Now he or she is back with a vengeance.
The subject matter numbs the faker’s impact. Not in a million years would the TAT recycle negative news on boat accidents, murders, rapes and a host of other downright damaging news stories.
We live in an age of fake news when anyone with a Facebook page can spring a sordid tale to fulfil his or her waning ego. Or it might be a disgruntled TAT staffer overlooked in the annual job shuffle. Whatever, they have an extensive list of media contacts and occasionally, obviously by mistake, the full email is list visible to all recipients.
Why masquerade as the TAT? If you have a point to make come out and say it and have the conviction to put your name on it.
When I first received a batch of bad news from ‘TAT’ I was attending the ITB Asia 2017 and happened to be at the TAT booth. At the time the TAT director said it was impossible to track down the impersonator, which I thought was a mite weird. The PM had said during the same week he would track down Facebook posts that presented “fake news” and take legal action against the account owners and even those who liked the posts.
The fake news from alias TAT continued through to April this year and finally ran out of stream well almost. They are back. My beef? They are wasting our time; we have seen the news much earlier and if you have something worthwhile to say stop piggy-backing on TAT. It looks plainly ridiculous.
We are conditioned to TAT telling us the good news and rely on reputable news journals to provide a balance. Then there’s the Facebook fake news and a host of social media scribes who churn out nonsense. In an age when communications are simple and everyone is a messenger truth is often dumbed down by impersonators and phantoms with a personal agenda.