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Indonesia government establishes new agency to combat fake news

The Indonesian government is looking to establish a new cyber agency to combat fake news and strengthen security against hackers targeting state institutions. The agency, which will be overseen by Indonesia’s security ministry, will also be responsible for monitoring online news.

This follows the spread of false stories on social media, including claims that China was waging biological warfare against the country through Chilli seeds which are contaminated, AFP reported in an article published by The Straits Times.

The statement was made by presidential spokesman Johan Budi. In addition, Indonesia’s chief security minister Wiranto explained that the move was crucial to combat news which was said to be misleading and spreading hate.

Also in a bid to clamp down on fake news, a campaign titled TurnBackHoax, launched by the Anti-Hoax Society of Indonesia is said to be running on social media. According to publication Time, Nahdlatul Ulama, the biggest Islamic mass organization in Indonesia was behind the campaign.

Fake news has been a growing concern globally as trust in media sees a significant dip following the emergence of media echo chambers. Just yesterday, Marketing reported findings from an Edelman Trust Barometer 2017 study which saw trust in the media at an all time low. According to Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, this is because people now view media as part of the elite. The lack of trust in media has hence resulted in the rise of the fake news phenomenon and politicians speaking directly to the masses.

In addition, Google and Facebook recently declared that they would block advertising revenue to fake news sites which mislead online users. This follows the impact of misinformation fed by fake news sites on the recent US presidential elections.

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