The Effectiveness of Chat Messages and Thumbs-Up Emojis as Approval Signals

person holding smartphone white sitting

The Effectiveness of Chat Messages and Thumbs-Up Emojis as Approval Signals

Thailand is now entering the digital era, and electronic transactions are more common than ever. Thai people, in particular those who lend and borrow money, frequently enter into loan agreements using chat messages or even a thumbs-up emoji via online platforms. It is arguable whether chat messages via these internet communications will be deemed as evidence in a lawsuit for prosecution and legal action.  

According to Civil and Commercial Code (“CCC”), Section 653 paragraph one, “A loan of money for a sum exceeding two thousand baht in capital is not enforceable by action unless there is some written evidence of the loan signed by the borrower,” so the loan agreement requires written evidence signed by the borrower to enforce in legal prosecution. Considering the CCC alone, chat messages or a thumps-up emoji seem to be an issue as no signature is affixed.

person holding white android smartphone

Without a signature in this regard, will a loan agreement not be formed? Electronic Transaction Act B.E. 2544 (the “Act”) enables online conversations to be used as proof of loan agreements under Sections 7, 8, and 9. Section 7 states that information shall not be denied legal effect and enforceability solely because it is in the form of a data message. Section 8 states that, subject to Section 9, if the law requires that any transaction be made in writing or evidenced by writing, and if the information is generated in the form of a data message that is accessible and usable for subsequent reference without its meaning being altered, it shall be deemed that such information is already made in writing or evidenced by writing. Section 9 specifies that when a person enters a signature in any writing, it is regarded that a data message carries a signature if it is identifiable and demonstrable, and such a method is reliable and meets the requirements of Section 9.  

photo of man in white hoodie standing near brown wall while using his smartphone

As a result, online conversations between the borrower and the lender are deemed as signed and written evidence. Even the Supreme Court recently rendered a judgment in accordance with the Act, as stated in the judgement number 6757/2560, in which the plaintiff sent an online chat message releasing the defendant from the debt, this case had been rendered in accordance with the Act that the debt release via online message deemed as written evidence of debt releasing. Thus, debt under the loan agreement was extinguished. Accordingly, the thumps-up should be interpreted as it is.  

According to the aforementioned Act and the subsequent judgment, it is clear that Thai law encourages electronic transactions, and even the civil court accepts the existence of electronic transactions, indicating an important beginning of the evolution of usage and interpretation to be more modern and efficient.

Author: Panisa Suwanmatajarn, Managing Partner.

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