"We have shut down thousands of social media accounts, including those from the platforms of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, because they spread hoaxes," the East Java Police spokesman, Sen. Coms. Frans Barung Mangera, said here on Thursday.
On Thursday alone, the cyber crime unit personnel have so far taken down 32 social media accounts to halt the massive proliferation of hoaxes that are feared to affect those receiving the fake news, he stated.
One of the contents of fake news, proliferated through various social media platforms that had been taken down by the police, was about the existence of around 10 million Chinese citizens in the final voters list (DPT) for the 2019 Presidential Election.
"We categorize the information as fake news," Mangera noted.
The proliferation of fake news, hate speech, and slander has obviously become a serious problem prior to this year's parliamentary and presidential elections.
A real battle ground to win the hearts and minds of eligible voters is not just limited to the contestants. Instead, the grassroots also join the battle by using various platforms of social media for influencing the political preferences of the people-at-large.
However, certain irresponsible people use social media for spreading fake news and slanderous contents against certain figures.
Antara noted that Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, running mate of Prabowo Subianto, had also been targeted by those spreading fake news containing an allegation that he has had an affair with a woman, only identified by her initials MB.
Uno denied the allegation, saying that it was, indeed, a slander. The slanderous content against Uno is perceived by various elements of society as a sort of black campaign for damaging his reputation as a vice presidential candidate.
In response to this slanderous fake news, Uno remarked that the strong commitment of his camp to reject the proliferation of hoaxes, black campaigns, and practices of money politics to make the 2019 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections run fairly and peacefully remains unchanged.
The proliferation of fake news, hate speech, and black campaigns has predictably become a serious challenge ahead of the country's fiesta of democracy.
Therefore, Head of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Advisory Council Din Syamsuddin has reminded all elements about this episode by calling upon community members to respect a diversity of opinions among citizens and society to rid itself of spreading hate speech and hoaxes ahead of the 2019 presidential election.(*)