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Jakarta Post

A threat to democracy? 'Buzzers' suspected to amplify dispute over Papua independence

  • Ardila Syakriah

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Wed, October 9, 2019   /  11:34 am
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Facebook released a statement last Thursday saying that it had identified and removed 69 Facebook accounts, 42 pages and 34 Instagram accounts suspected of coordinated inauthentic behavior in Indonesia, primarily sharing content about West Papua, with some in support of and others in opposition to the independence movement.(Shutterstock.com/oneinchpunch )

Indonesians are known for their addiction to Facebook, but for one 22-year-old university student, Faizul (not his real name), posting 350 comments a day on the platform was a part of his freelance job that he later found unsettling. Faizul did not write the comments himself, nor did he choose where to post them. That was the job of another team at a Jakarta-based public relations and media company that he signed up for recently. In short, all the comments contained messages that were anti-West Papuan independence and pro-Indonesian government. "My team consisted of six people and one team leader. There are four other similar teams. We were tasked with the same job and we used fake accounts to post the comments," he told The Jakarta Post on Monday, adding that he was promised a salary of Rp 1.5 million. All Faizul had to do was to wait for his team leader to provide hi...