Just weeks before Malaysia goes to the polls, automated accounts known as bots are flooding Twitter with tens of thousands of pro-government and anti-opposition messages. (Reuters Photo/Kacper Pempel)

Surge in Number of Social Media Hoaxes No Coincidence: Police


DECEMBER 29, 2016

Jakarta. The National Police said the recent surge in the number of hoaxes on social media is no coincidence and that it involves new "hit and run" methods.

"The perpetrators of these recent hoaxes that went viral on social media open new accounts, throw out rumors before closing the accounts and leaving. It goes on like that, hit and run. It is really taking our time and we are analyzing them," police special crime unit director Brig. Gen. Agung Setya said on Thursday (29/12).

Agung, who oversees the cybercrime unit, said profiling of the alleged perpetrators show that they intend to disrupt the status quo. Police are currently investigating the facts of this case.

"If information is released on social media, our decision to investigate it or not depends on the content. We consider whether the content has the potential of violating articles 27, 28 and 29 of the ITE [Electronic Information and Transaction] Law on defamation, threats or discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity and group affiliation," he said.

The police will evaluate the content of hoaxes based on evidence and input from crime experts. If the content is illegal, an investigation will be launched, despite it not having been reported to police.

If the hoax contains information that is defamatory, the police will wait for an official complaint.

"The investigation will be on the IP [internet protocol] address, but the problem is that the perpetrators are evasive. There should be tighter regulations to formulate rules on ownership of social media accounts, or a mechanism that determines who is allowed to access to the internet. So, we would like only those with valid registrations to be able to access the internet," Agung said.