The Jakarta Post
Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's visit to the headquarters of US social networking service giants in Silicon Valley, California, was aimed at building stronger cooperation in disseminating messages of peace and tolerance.
'The President went to Silicon Valley because we want to partner with social media providers in building peace and tolerance,' the minister said as quoted by Antara during her flight from the US to Jakarta on Friday.
Citing reports, Retno said several organizations known to have frequently launched terror attacks had communicated with each other and recruited members via social media. However, she further said that social media could also be an effective tool to tackle the actions and propaganda of radical organizations.
'We have talked with Facebook and Twitter, saying to them that 'social media has been used to spread extremism and recruit FTF [Foreign Terrorist Fighters], thus, we must balance the information [available online]',' said the minister.
She said social media must begin to be used to spread the message of tolerance. 'Peace and tolerance can be promoted through social media,' she added.
In his visit, President Jokowi conveyed a message of peace, writing 'Together in Peace and Harmony' on the wall of the Facebook Headquarters at Menlo Park.
Separately, Indonesian Institute of Sciences ( LIPI ) political researcher Hamdan Basyar said that social media was a powerful tool to promote messages against religious violence.
He used the example of social-media trends following the terrorist attack in Jakarta on Jan. 14, where Indonesian citizens posted tweets and posts with the hashtag #KamiTidakTakut [We are not Afraid], declaring peaceful solidarity in opposition to the terrorist threats facing the country.
"Social media such as Facebook and Twitter can be utilized to promote peace and anti-violence, to fight terrorism," Hamdan said on Thursday.
Currently, he said, social media and hard-news media tended to excessively focus on radical movements, adding that the media had contributed more to the spreading of terrorism than campaigning to curb the incitement of violence.
Hamdan said social media should be used effectively to counter extremist groups' propaganda, including preventing the recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters. ( ebf )