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Facebook Platform Dominates the Spread of Hoaxes in Indonesia

November 23, 2020, 08.16 PM – The spread of hoaxes in Indonesia has increased, fanned by the presence of social media in the past three years.

The latest data from the Anti-Defamation Society of Indonesia (Mafindo) in collaboration with shows that as many as 2,024 hoaxes have spread in Indonesia from January 1 until November 16, 2020.

The figure has nearly doubled from last year’s total of 1,221 hoaxes in 2019 and 997 hoaxes in 2018.

Read also: Facebook Bans QAnon Accounts Across All Platforms to Curb Misinformation

Mafindo Chairman Septiaji Eko Nugroho said that the pandemic has catapulted the spread of hoaxes in Indonesia, especially regarding health-related matters.

More than one-third of the hoaxes that circulated this year were all related to Covid-19 through other issues such as the Job Creation Law and the 2020 regional elections.

Facebook is the primary source of the country’s hoaxes followed by Twitter and WhatsApp.

Septiaji could not provide details on the number of misinformation spreading across each social media platform but added that false information circulated on a public platform such as Facebook and Twitter are easier to track.

Read also: Cyber Crime Attempts in Indonesia Surge during Coronavirus Pandemic

The spread of hoaxes in Indonesia via private messaging platforms such as WhatsApp are more difficult to trace and Mafindo only knew of the misinformation making rounds from people who filed reports to the organization.

“Based on our assessment, around 13-15 percent of disinformation in the country are traced back to WhatsApp.”

“It must be noted that there is likely far more false information that has spread which we could not check as we can only report on those that users inform us of.”

Mafindo has partnered with WhatsApp to launch the Kalimasada chatbot in an effort to combat the spread of hoaxes in Indonesia as well as misinformation and disinformation.

To access the chatbot, users are required to save the number +6285921600500 to their phone then type a greeting such as “Hi” on the WhatsApp chat.

Read also: Coronavirus Misinformation is Proving to be a Contagious Trend


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