The Jakarta Post
Local media firm InsightID has made headlines after Facebook released a statement last week saying it had taken down dozens of accounts and pages, primarily for sharing content about West Papua, and found the network was linked to InsightID itself.
The Jakarta Post reported Facebook's statement on Monday but was unable to immediately reach InsightID. In the article, the Post quoted Facebook's statement explaining that the latter had identified and removed 69 Facebook accounts, 42 pages and 34 Instagram accounts over “coordinated inauthentic behavior”, mostly regarding West Papua, with some in support of and others criticizing the region’s self-determination movement.
The statement said people behind the networks used fake accounts to manage pages, disseminate their content and drive people to off-platform sites. It said they attempted to conceal their identities. Facebook's investigation, however, found links to InsightID, saying the network spent about $300,000 on Facebook ads paid for primarily in rupiah.
The Post received Tuesday a statement sent by email from a group claiming to be InsightID.
The group defined itself as a nationalist movement comprising communication practitioners and professionals who were concerned about "the massive, biased disinformation launched by the Papua Independence Separatist [movement] led by Benny Wenda by politicizing and manipulating humanity issues and conflicts in Papua for his political interests".
Benny is the chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
In the statement, the group asserted itself as a pro-Indonesia unity group, noting that Facebook's statement had created an ambiguous perception among the public, as the group was accused of holding contradictory viewpoints by supporting both Papuan independence and Indonesian unity.
"Facebook only revealed the pro-Indonesia group that is InsightID. However, Facebook didn't reveal who was behind the accounts of the Papua Independence Separatist group," the statement said.
The group said it never spent $300,000 on Facebook ads, suggesting that the amount was a combined figure paid by various groups concerned with the issue of Papua, both pro-independence and pro-Indonesia groups.
"Our content is focused on messages of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika [Unity in Diversity], the unity of Indonesia and the optimistic efforts of Indonesia in resolving the problems in Papua," it said.