The directorate of cyber crime at the national police’s criminal investigation unit, or Bareskrim, on Tuesday (27/02) confirmed the arrest of four suspected members of a group believed to have been behind the spread of fake news through social media in the country.(Antara Photo/Yusuf Nugroho)

Police Arrest Four Members of 'Muslim Cyber Army'

BY : FAROUK ARNAZ AND SHEANY

FEBRUARY 27, 2018

Jakarta. The directorate of cyber crime at the national police’s criminal investigation unit, or Bareskrim, on Tuesday (27/02) confirmed the arrest of four suspected members of a group believed to have been behind the spread of fake news through social media in the country.

"Based on the results of the investigation, this group has often spread provocative issues on social media," said Brig. Gen. Fadil Imran, head of Bareskrim’s cyber crime directorate, as quoted by BeritaSatu.com.

Fadil was referring to a group known as "The Family MCA [Muslim Cyber Army]."

The fake news stories spread by the group included the supposed rise of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), kidnapping of ulemas and defamation toward the president, Fadil added.

The suspects – ML, RSD, RS and Yus – were arrested in different locations across Indonesia: Tanjung Priok in North Jakarta, Pangkal Pinang in Bangka Belitung, Jembrana in Bali and Sumedang in West Java.

They also reportedly spread content containing cyber viruses to individuals and groups.

"They have intentionally spread viruses to individuals or groups they are opposed to in order to cause damage to the recipient’s electronic devices," Fadil said.

The suspects were charged with inciting hate speech on the basis of ethnic, religious, racial and societal groups (SARA) under the 2016 Information and Electronic Transactions Act (ITE) Law.

'Be Careful With Hoax'

Suhardi Alius, chief of the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), said Indonesian citizens must be mindful of the spread of fake news and hate speech.

"Be careful with hoax and hate speech, it’s important to be able to sort and select information," Suhardi said after meeting.

He reminded the public not to carelessly share information or to become easily provoked, especially in order to preserve peace prior and during the upcoming regional elections.

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