No easy way in the battle against misinformation

In light of the recent 22 May riots in Jakarta, the Ministry for Communication and Information (KOMINFO) enacted a “soft ban” on social media and messaging applications. Instagram and Facebook were blocked (surprisingly, Twitter was left alone), while WhatsApp users could not share images or documents (but could still receive and send text messages). The three-day ban was a preventive response to potential misinformation surrounding the Jakarta riots. However, despite the ban, as much as 30 pieces of fake news still fell through the cracks. The ban was also easily circumvented using VPN services. The ban has been criticized left and right on grounds of infringement of civil liberties.

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Semtext #7: Disinformation and Indonesia’s 2019 Election

This SemText summarises the real and perceived challenges in Indonesia’s upcoming 2019 election, particularly regarding disinformation and candidate electability.

Throughout 2018 and early 2019, the Presidential Race was a doozy to follow. Political allegiances, according to the media and some observers, have shown to break up families and disharmonize supposedly “neutral” places like schools and places of worship. The stakes in this election are high, as some may put: continue with economic development or risk returning to New Order practices?

One thorny issue that has piqued the interest of the public is the widespread use of disinformation by both sides. How is disinformation used? What are the effects? These are some the questions that the panel addressed.

One note on format. In this SemText, I’ll move in and out from summary to commentary. While this may be confusing, I’ll do my best to denote which is the speaker’s voice and which is mine.

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THOUGHTS AND COFFEE #7: A hopeless case for curbing fake news

What moves faster than light?

A hoax on social media.

A recent piece in the Jakarta Globe titled “Online Black Campaigns — the New ‘Divide et Impera‘” highlights a greater need to curb fake news sites aimed at spreading hoaxes and lies that could potentially divide the nation. In a country where (as of 2015) around 70 million people have social media accounts and are constantly plugged into the network, the dissemination of fake news and misinformation is a phenomenon that’s already snowballed into one tremendous problem. Add in charged and polarizing political tensions, and you’ve got yourself a problematic cocktail.

Continue reading “THOUGHTS AND COFFEE #7: A hopeless case for curbing fake news”

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