Smart-city app Qlue has launched a new feature to stamp out the spreading of hoaxes and false news on the internet. Partnering with the Communication and Information Technology Ministry, the app’s new “report dashboard” enables users to report negative content especially hoax and false news stories that can cause polarization in the society.
According to the ministry’s Director General of Information Applications Samuel Pangerapan, the collaboration aims to prevent the impact of the rampant spread of negative content such as provocation, intolerance, and hate speech.
“With this new platform, we hope citizens will take an active part in helping fight the spread of false news and keeping the cyber space clean,” said Samuel during the talkshow “Hand in Hand against Fake News” at Cocowork D.Lab, Menteng, Central Jakarta, following the launch on Monday (Aug 27).
A 2017 survey by the Indonesian Information and Telecommunications Society (Mastel) found that 44.3 percent of the public received hoax every day. Of these, 17.2 percent of them said they received fake news more than once in a day. As of last month, the Ministry has identified around 800,000 Indonesia-based websites spreading false information.
“This shows that there are still many people who abuse the internet for their own benefits by spreading negative content,” said Samuel.
To file a report, users can easily sign up to Qlue, and then upload the offending links or screenshots. After the report is submitted to Qlue through the report dashboard, the data will be forwarded directly to the Information Ministry. Users can monitor their report status progress.
“If there are indications that the site is spreading fake news and false information, we will take action by taking the site down or suspending it,” said Samuel.
With roughly 500,000 users, Qlue is a pioneer of smart city technology in Indonesia. It aims to facilitate communication between the government and citizens. The app was launched in 2014 initially to provide Jakarta citizens with a platform for complaints and to report problems that occur in their neighborhood. The app is now available in 14 cities throughout Indonesia.
“Qlue’s main mission is to accelerate positive changes throughout Indonesia. Through this initiative, we wanted to channel citizens’ voices to the government, so that the government can later follow them up,” said Raditya Maulana Rusdi, the CEO of Qlue.
Samuel of the Information Ministry stressed that internet users tend to be uncritical in consuming news, neglecting to fact check or read up on other sources. Another bad habits commonly shared by internet users is reading only headlines shared on social media.
Chain massages on chat application such as Whatsapp currently leads the trend in spreading fake news. According to the Mastel survey, 92.4 percent of internet users in Indonesia claimed to receive hoax and fake news via social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Chat applications such as Whatsapp came second at 62.8 percent.
Founder of online news media outlet Tirto, Atmaji Sapto Anggoro, highlights the importance of verifying news.
“Pay attention to the authenticity of the news link. Sometimes, fake ones look similar to the original to confuse people. Always fact check the information; don't just accept it,” said Atmaji.
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