Further to our prior newsletter on Thailand’s Royal Decree on the Operation of Digital Platform Services subject to prior Notification B.E. 2565 (the “Royal Decree”), the Royal Decree has come into effect as from August 21, 2023 requiring both local and international digital platform operators to take certain actions to ensure compliance with the Royal Decree. There have been some updates as follows.
Notification of Platform Information
Platform operators are now required to notify the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (the “ETDA”) of their platform information via the ETDA’s online notification channel prior to commencing their operations. In particular, the information to be notified will vary based on the type of platform, as previously detailed in our prior newsletter.
As for those who operated their platforms before the Royal Decree’s implementation date, they have only about one month left until November 18, 2023 to notify the ETDA of this information. There is exemption however for (i) Small-size platform operators, e.g. those with the revenues or the users lower than those indicated in the prior notification criteria, and (ii) Low-risk platform operators as determined by the commission that they have one year from the implementation to provide the ETDA with brief details, i.e. the information on the operator, platform, and the local contract, of its platform.
In addition to the above notification obligation, all types of platform operators must update their platform information with the ETDA on an annual basis. To provide a clear timeline for compliance with these notification requirements, we summarize it as below
Recently, the ETDA has introduced additional requirements and obligations for the operators through subordinate laws (the “ Notifications”).These Notifications have taken effect immediately simultaneously with the implementation date of the Royal Decree, except for the Notification on the Announcement and Changes of Terms and Conditions, which will only come into force on January 3, 2024 in order to provide the operator with additional time to ensure compliance with these specific requirements. To help you capture the key requirement under the Notifications, we summarize the points as follows:
Classification of type of digital platforms
Platform operators who are required to notify the ETDA of their platform information before commencement of their operations must submit such information through the ETDA’s online notification channel which includes a list of some types of digital platforms as follows:
Notably, this is merely a non-exhaustive list of some samples. To determine whether a certain platform falls within the scope of Digital Platform under this decree or not, the definition of “Digital Platform Service” in the Decree should also be considered. At this early stage, the ETDA also provide services to operators for reviewing whether their platforms fall under this legal definition or not.
Notification exemption for platform
A website or an application service provider offering its own goods or services that also contains a web board for customers’ assistance (for communication between the provider and the customers, not among customers directly) or a hyperlink or a banner linking to other websites or platforms for customers’ convenience shall be exempted from the notification requirement prior to operation. Nevertheless, this platform is still obligated to update and notify the ETDA with brief details of its platform on a yearly basis.
Announcement of Terms and Conditions
The Royal Decree requires specific types of digital platforms to disclose their terms and conditions and notify the amendment of the same to the ETDA and users. The relevant Notification outlines the specific details of these terms and conditions to be disclosed in accordance with the types of platforms. For instance, if a platform charges service fees and offers rating and opinion channels for users, it must ensure that those ratings and opinions are from real customers who have used or brought the products or services. This Notification further mandates the platform to have content filtering for ratings and comments to separate the issue of the product and services quality from the issue of shipment and delivery in the scoring process. This ensures that users can accurately assess the rating of genuine quality of products or services without any external factors affecting their judgment.
To avoid disclosure of the platform’s trade secrets and confidential information mentioned in our previous newsletter, the relevant Notification requires only the disclosure of the main parameters of the algorithm, such as those used in ranking and recommending the products or services. It explicitly states that the algorithm itself is not required.
According to the ETDA, moreover, all information received from the platforms shall be kept strictly confidential with access to only a few relevant officers. Though the ETDA is authorized to share the information with the competent authorities, the ETDA will establish certain requirement to ensure that the information will be shared only to the extent legally required.
Moreover, we also highlighted another aspect related to the disclosure of users’ personal data. The operator is required to present users with information about the data it has obtained, whether it is through the users’ access to the platform or the operator’s provision of services to the users. This requirement extends to the access and utilization of personal data that is obtained either through technical means or through contractual agreements with the user, both during and at the end of services.
Termination of platform and relief measures:
Furthermore, in line with the Royal Decree, the digital platform operator will have to inform the termination of its platform and prepare a plan for taking care of users who may be adversely affected after the termination to the ETDA and users. One of the Notification further require certain detailed information of the plan. For instance, the plan must include relief measures and clearly specify the implementation timeframe for the benefit of users. Regarding the relief measure, it shall include at least, for example, the progress and results achieved after the implementation of these relief measures, the management of user data, and the process for refunding any remaining fees or other owed properties to the users or related parties.
In addition to the Notifications, which have come into effect, there are still pending notifications and relevant guidelines (e.g. the Notification on the criteria for assessing the level of impacts of the digital platform operation and the Guideline on identity proofing for user’s registration) which should be enacted soon. These may be significant to the digital platform operators. In light of this, we will continue to follow developments in connection with this Royal Decree and will provide you related updates as they become available.