Facebook And Instagram "Sluggish" In Filtering Contents, Said Indonesian Communication Minister

The social giant Facebook may have made several changes and created new approaches to fight fake news. But according to Indonesia, that it just not enough.

The government has slammed tech giants, especially Facebook, for failing to filter content that it says, has contributed to the spread of misinformation on social media. The news was delivered by Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara, saying that more public reports on Facebook and Instagram are more than other platforms.

In 2018, there were 8,903 reports filed on the two platforms. This is a significant increase from 2,232 reports that were filed in 2017.

To minister continued by saying that Facebook and Instagram have not been collaborative in the ministry’s requests for the removal of content, calling them "sluggish" when dealing with these issues.

"Facebook can’t only look at Indonesia as a big business market. They also have to have the moral responsibility to prevent the misuse of negative content on their platforms," Rudiantara said.

The reason is because Facebook and Instagram are social media platforms based in the United States. Therefore, according to Rudiantara, their community standards did not take account the literacy level in Indonesia.

Indonesia has been fighting against the spread of fake news and hoaxes, especially since Indonesia is looking forward for a fair 2019 general election, in which for the first time in the country's history, the president, the vice president, and members of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), will be elected on the same day, with sixteen parties participating in the elections nationally with over 190 million eligible voters.

Previously, Rudiantara was involved in threatening Instagram over Alpantuni, an Instagram account that featured a comic strip about the life of a gay Muslim man.

When the account was deactivated, the government said that it was taken down based on its request. However, this claim was later denied by Instagram, when it said that it didn't put any ban to the account, and explaining that it was actually the account owner that was responsible for deactivating the account.

Alpantuni later returned as if nothing happened, even increasing its number of followers to several thousands more, further angering Rudiantara.

As the Minister of Communication and Informatics, Rudiantara is known for this stance against fake news, pornography and gambling websites among others

Facebook itself has actually made efforts in stopping the spread of fake news, especially since the social media company experienced a series of backlash and criticisms after the Russian meddling in the U.S. election through Facebook ads, and the Cambridge Analytica among others.

The platform has 15,000 officers worldwide who monitor all user-reported content in addition to its automated flagging system that notified the company of potential violations.

As a result, Facebook has shut down more than 789 million fake accounts worldwide in 2018, and also removed 800 million pieces of content from April to September, according to its reports on enforcing community standards.

While some account owners have accepted the changes, others have resorted to suing Facebook.

In its defense, Facebook public policy manager Sheen Handoo explained that Facebook’s content removal actions were based on careful considerations of content that violated its community standards.

“Our policies are only as good as the enforcement. We are investing a lot on our enforcement. We review every report from our community,” Sheen said.

As for Indonesia, the archipelago country in Southeast Asia contributes to much of Facebook's user base. As of January 2019, according to Statisca, the country has 130 million Facebook users, or the fourth largest in the world.

While the country indeed contributes to most internet users in the region, the government has also long received criticisms for its Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, which has jailed hundreds of people over their posts or pictures shared on social media, as explained by The Jakarta Post.