COMMENTARY 10.01.2017

The incessant coverage on the arrival of tens of millions of workers from China to Indonesia some time ago has disturbed the Indonesian public. The news has forced Indonesian President Joko Widodo to give explanation. After having been examined, it turns out the news was only a figment, none other than the false news, or among internet users, it is popularly called ‘hoax’.

What is actually false news or hoax that has recently seemed to be endemic among Indonesian internet users? In English, hoax means false news made to trick the people. Initially, it was made as a joke. But in its development, now Hoax is a term used to defraud or circumvent the reader or listener to believe something. One widely circulated hoax ever is the threat of asteroid hit the Earth which caused the apocalypse. NASA, in 2015, had denied the rumors.

Then why do Indonesian people seem to love spreading false news or a hoax? It seems to be related to the use of technology that is not accompanied by a critical culture in seeing various issues. The Indonesian internet users tend to like to disseminate information or news to someone else without firstly checking the truth. Some even feel they are more advanced or great being the first to spread the information which source is not clear, whether the news is true or not. The spreading of hoax becomes more massive due to online sites and social media such as facebook, twitter, instagram and other social media. In the internet, the hoax spreader is safer because he does not have to deal directly with the aggrieved person or the target of the hoax.

This has caused the unrest of President Joko Widodo so as he beats the war drums against the disturbing hoaxes or false news. The government invites the public to aggressively fight the hoax news if they do not want this nation destroyed. A hoax can divide the nation as the people will be consumed by slander issue. People should be more critical in facing information on the Internet or social media. Don’t just believe and spread. Do check and recheck the truth. If the information is not clear and detrimental, stop and don’t forward or share the information to others.

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