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July 18, 2020, 04.44 AM

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian Armed Forces Commander Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto has urged his men to win the public’s hearts and minds in combating cyberspace radicalism.

“There are radical groups that try to win over and recruit the [Indonesian] public to their cause online over social media. Terror attacks and lone wolf activity is proof of this,” said Hadi to the 208 newly commissioned Army, Air Force and Navy officers in Jakarta on Thursday, July 18.

He warned that information is more vital than ever, especially in combating misinformation from groups trying to debunk government policy.

Also read: Indonesians Believe Coronavirus is a Lie: Covid-19 Task Force Head

“They would try to convince the public that [Covid-19] and measures to combat the pandemic like rapid tests, swab tests, and isolation of patients are actually a scam to profit hospitals. If left unchecked, [conspiracy theories] like these will endanger our national interest.”

Hadi pointed out that these theories are already taking hold among the public, as seen in the refusal of some people to wear masks. He admitted that the 4.0 Industrial Revolution has spawned disruptive innovations like social media and smartphones.

Also read: Child Recruitment for Terrorism and Radicalism in Indonesia Goes Digital

“The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the disruptive effects of the 4.0 Industrial Revolution and brought a spectrum of complex, quickly evolving threats,” he said.

“As officers of the millennial generation familiar with technology and social media, you have the ability to identify and pinpoint potential threats like radicalization and its potential to sow divisiveness. Yet at the same time you should maintain your professionalism as officers.” 

Also read: Uphold State Ideologies, President Jokowi Tells Future Officers of Military, Police

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