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Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information alerts public of surge in election-related hoaxes in anticipation of 2024 elections

Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo) cautions the public about the escalating surge in election-related hoaxes in anticipation of the 2024 polls, while warning of the growing sophistication of AI-generated disinformation.

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INDONESIA: The Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo) has issued a warning to the public about the prevalence of fake news and hoaxes in the run-up to the 2024 elections.

Minister of Communication and Information, Budi Arie Setiadi, emphasized the importance of not succumbing to sensational news and urged residents not to blindly forward information received from social media, as this can prevent the widespread dissemination of hoaxes.

Budi Arie Setiadi highlighted that hoaxes related to general elections were frequently found on the social media platform Facebook, which is owned by Meta.

Kominfo has been actively working with Meta to remove hundreds of pieces of content containing election-related hoaxes.

In a press conference on Friday (27 Oct), Budi Arie Setiadi pointed out that the spread of hoaxes not only compromises the quality of democracy but also has the potential to divide national unity.

“We’ve submitted requests to Meta for the removal of 454 pieces of content, and this situation warrants our collective concern. Election-related hoaxes not only undermine democracy’s quality but also risk dividing our national unity,” he stated

He also revealed that there has been a significant increase in the volume of election-related hoaxes in the lead-up to the 14 February 2024 vote, with a nearly tenfold increase compared to the previous year.

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(Photo: Youtube/Screencapt/Kemkominfo TV)

In contrast to 2022, when there were only ten such incidents, the year 2023 saw a staggering 98 election-related hoaxes reported by the Kominfo.

This represents an alarming nearly tenfold increase compared to the previous year, with a noticeable escalation in incidents from July 2023 onward.

Kominfo has advised the public to be prepared to counter the growing spread of election-related hoaxes, emphasizing that these hoaxes not only target candidates but also the integrity of the election process itself.

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(Photo: Youtube/Screencapt/Kemkominfo TV)

To combat the spread of hoaxes and disinformation, Budi Arie Setiadi offered several tips for the public.

Firstly, he urged people not to be provoked by sensational news that triggers emotions and to verify information before sharing it. He encouraged individuals to rely on trusted news sources and compare information from various sources to ensure its accuracy.

Cautions over rising AI-driven hoax threat amid advancing technology

Kominfo also warned of the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in creating hoaxes, as AI technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Semuel A Pangerapan, the Director General of Applications and Information at Kominfo, urged people to seek information from trusted sources, including mainstream mass media, to prevent exposure to hoaxes created using AI.

He stressed the importance of monitoring and suppressing the use and spread of hoaxes, especially those that closely resemble authentic content.

As reported earlier, a video allegedly showing President Joko Widodo speaking in Mandarin was spreading on social media.

Kominfo has officially labelled this video as disinformation and a deceptive edit.

This determination is based on the striking visual similarity between the video in question and the one uploaded by the YouTube channel The U.S. – Indonesia Society (USINDO) on 13 November 2015.

They emphasized the need for the public to exercise caution when encountering information that could be manipulated or misrepresented, and to refer to government websites and credible media sources for accurate information.

The ministry also took measures to label and take down content deemed as disinformation.

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