Twitter, Lies and Videotapes in Indonesia

Twitter has served as a powerful instrument in the chain of uprising in the Arab World, Indonesia needs to be wary of the gripping, yet unverified, scandals involving politicians that have been popping-up on the micro-blogging site. Since the start of 2011, there have been at least three Twitter accounts disseminating such information.

The lastest account of note, @Fahri_Israel, specializes in sex scandals involving political actors. At the beginning of March the user posted two links to stomach-churning clips allegedly featuring Anis Matta, a deputy House of Representatives speaker from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

This example shows, once again, how controversial the use of digital media can be. These ghost Twitter accounts could be easily treat as political infotainment, thus reducing the information to mere gossip. On the other hand, it is also important to remember that these tweets actually name individual politicians and public officials and the content of the posts is of a highly sensitive nature. As this implies political and legal repercussions, the claims made by these sketchy informers should not be discredited.

The dissemination of political rumors on Twitter in Indonesia shows how much the micro-blogging site has eveolved. As reflected in the change in its tagline from “What are we doing?” to “What is happening?”, it is clear that Twitter has transformed from a site that allows people to blog about their personal life to a platform that disseminates information for purposes ranging from commercial to political.

-Lara Bonalume-

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