Hoaxes Targeting Vulnerable Groups
The chairman of the Indonesian Anti-Hoax Society, Septiyah Eko Nugroho, previously revealed that the millennial generation, or the generation born between the 1980s and 2000s, is the generation considered the most vulnerable to "swallowing" fake news and hoaxes. This state of affairs is very unfortunate in light of the fact that Indonesia, which should be able to enjoy the demographic 'bonus' in 2030, is instead full of people who are not social media savvy. (kominfo.go.id/8 Januari 2016/Generasi Rentan Paling dan Bahaya Hoaks).
In fact, not only the Millennial Generation, but other vulnerable groups continue to be easy targets for those spreading hoaxes, especially concerning electoral issues. In the process of the democratic festival, these vulnerable groups are considered to be the easiest group of people to believe in the issues that are being raised.
In Banda Aceh, for example, the issue of women's inability to lead was deliberately raised during the mayoral and deputy mayoral elections. Incidentally, the candidate for mayor who was considered to be strong at the time won the election. It was a female mayoral candidate, Illiza Sa'aduddin Djamal, who was running with the incumbent, Farid Nyak Umar.
In those days, the scholars were divided into two camps: those that permitted this on the basis of existing references, and those that forbade this because they were docking with one of the rivals of Illiza. Aceh had once been under the rule of a female sultan, Sultanah Safiatuddin. The debate was so heated that it was brought up during the candidates' debate. Illiza was offended by her political opponents' remarks. They had told the mass media that it was forbidden for women to be leaders. (analisadaily.com/8 Februari 2017/Isu kepemimpinan perempuan panaskan debat wali kota).
Pamphlets were distributed in the mosques of Banda Aceh City. They said that it was forbidden for women to become leaders. Strangely, the news deliberately spread by the campaign team was believed and consumed by people at the grassroots level, including vulnerable groups.
In spite of this, the fight against hoaxes goes on. One of the community groups that has been at the forefront of the fight against hoaxes has been GERAK Aceh and Yayasan Pengembangan dan Pemberdayaan Masyarakat (YPPM) Maluku. Nurma, a member of GERAK Aceh, revealed how identity politics have begun to be promoted in Aceh, both through Whatsapp groups and from the pulpits of religious institutions. Among other things, women were not allowed to be leaders.
"That is why we have to give an understanding to the community. Women, young people, people with disabilities, that when they get information, they should not immediately accept it, because most of those who get hoaxes are women and young people who get them from WAGs or Facebook they just accept and immediately disseminated alone, " She said. (net.id / March 3, 2023 / Hoaxes worsen democratic regression).
There are many factors that contribute to the ease with which political hoaxes can be spread, including low levels of digital and political literacy among citizens, which are out of proportion to the increase in citizens' access to the Internet and social media.
According to the Katadata Insight Center published in 2021, the content that contains the most hoaxes: 69.3% political issues, 39.3% health issues, 29.2% religious issues, and 21.4% environmental issues. Political hoaxes are committed for the purpose of attacking political opponents and gaining support, as well as for economic motives, i.e. the hoax creators want to create certain political conditions and at the same time take advantage of the situation.
The nonprofit organization Masyarakat Antifitnah Indonesia (Mafindo) found in the Indonesia Fact Checking Summit (IFCS) 2022 Forum that there were 1,290 hoaxes from January to September 2022, with 29.2 percent political hoaxes. There is a need for solutions to prevent the production and distribution of hoaxes. People will assume the news is true if it is false and repeated, but not countered with correct news.
That is why the 2024 elections are coming up. In the upcoming democratic festival, do not let the bad experiences of the past be repeated. People need to be more intelligent in choosing those who will lead and represent them and will fight for their destiny. Do not easily believe in hoaxes. When you receive information, tabayyun or re-check it first, and don't spread it right away