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Facebook Café: Will free waffles be enough to make people care about their online privacy?

Yuliasri Perdani

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, September 14, 2019  /  09:55 pm
  • Happy waffle: Facebook Café gives free emoji-decorated waffles to visitors who fill out the privacy test.

    Happy waffle: Facebook Café gives free emoji-decorated waffles to visitors who fill out the privacy test. OF JP/ Donny Fernando

    Happy waffle: Facebook Café gives free emoji-decorated waffles to visitors who fill out the privacy test.

  • Updating knowledge: At the café, visitors can have a chat with a Facebook officer on ways to make their Facebook, Whatsapp or Instagram accounts more secure.

    Updating knowledge: At the café, visitors can have a chat with a Facebook officer on ways to make their Facebook, Whatsapp or Instagram accounts more secure. OF JP/ Donny Fernando

    Updating knowledge: At the café, visitors can have a chat with a Facebook officer on ways to make their Facebook, Whatsapp or Instagram accounts more secure.

  • Slurp and snap: Facebook Café is located at Filosofi Kopi in Blok M, South Jakarta.

    Slurp and snap: Facebook Café is located at Filosofi Kopi in Blok M, South Jakarta. OF JP/ Donny Fernando

    Slurp and snap: Facebook Café is located at Filosofi Kopi in Blok M, South Jakarta.

  • Trendy hangout: Facebook Café is part of the social media giant’s campaign to raise public awareness on online privacy. The cafe opens from Friday until Sunday.

    Trendy hangout: Facebook Café is part of the social media giant’s campaign to raise public awareness on online privacy. The cafe opens from Friday until Sunday. OF JP/ Donny Fernando

    Trendy hangout: Facebook Café is part of the social media giant’s campaign to raise public awareness on online privacy. The cafe opens from Friday until Sunday.

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Armed with cutesy emoji waffles, Facebook invites members of the public to run a simple online privacy checkup at its pop-up café in South Jakarta.

Facebook Café is located at Filosofi Kopi café in Melawai, Blok M – which has been embellished with loads of emoji decorations for the event. The café will open from Friday until Sunday.

Running under a similar concept with Facebook Cafes in the United Kingdom, the Jakarta branch gives out free waffles and drinks to anyone who does a privacy checkup.

Upon arrival, visitors must fill out a privacy test questionnaire. An officer then will give each of visitor a coupon for a plate of waffles and a cup of coffee or tea. Your answers in the test determine the type of coupon that you get. 

“A pink coupon means you will get a waffle with love emoji, while a yellow coupon is for a waffle with a laughing face emoji,” a café attendant explains.

While enjoying the waffles, the visitors can have a chat with a Facebook officer about ways to improve their privacy on Facebook, and also Whatsapp messaging app and social media Instagram – both owned by Facebook.

Indonesia has the fourth-highest number of Facebook users in the world, according to the 2018 annual digital report released by We Are Social and Hootsuite. As of January 2018, they were around 130 million Indonesian accounts, representing 6 percent of global users.

The social media giant has been pushing efforts in making user privacy a priority following the data-misuse scandal involving British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica. Last year, it was revealed that the firm harvested the data of 87 million unwitting Facebook users and used it for political advertising. More than 1 million users were Indonesians. 

“We understand that our users have lots of questions on how our platform works, and how we protect the information that they share. For the next three days, our friends from Facebook Indonesia are ready to answer their questions here,” said Facebook policy campaign manager Noudhy Valdryno,

Noudhy was open to the possibility of opening another Facebook Café in another locations. “If the enthusiasm is high, we’ll consider it,” he said. 

On the opening day, the small café welcomed a throng of journalists as its first customers. The staff seemed overwhelmed with the piling orders, resulting in some guests having to wait for the waffles.

Will Facebook Café succeed in raising online privacy awareness among Jakartans?

It can be a success only if most of the visitors don’t mind waiting too long for the waffles – or not getting any waffles at all. Or perhaps, they come to the café just to get advice on how to hide their Facebook and Instagram stories from their annoying friends.

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