Yogyakarta, 14 May 2018 — After Indonesian House of Representative passed the UU MD 3 during the plenary session on February 12, 2018; the bill has received pros and contras among citizens, including on social media and internet. In various social media platforms, UU MD 3 has become one of the most trending topics among netizens. The opinions are split into two sides, one who supports the act, and the other who opposes as they view the bill as a shield to make the legislative institutions immune from transparency and prosecution.
Based on this phenomenon, Center for Digital Society held a research project titled “Sentiments regarding UU MD 3 on Twitter and Online Media.” This research aims to see the reaction and opinion given by Indonesian netizens and online media in Indonesia against the polemic of UU MD 3.
“There were seven online media that we used as our samples in this research. We also took responses from Twitter because it has wider data visibility and the characteristic of Twitter’s microblogging and tweets that expressed the direct opinion of the account owner,” Viyasa Rahyaputra, Executive Secretary CfDS FISIPOL UGM, explained.
Viyasa Rahyaputra, Executive Secretary CfDS (left) dan Lamia Damayanti, Research Associate CfDS (right) explained the findings from the research titled “Sentiments regarding UU MD 3 on Twitter and Online Media.” (14/5).
The online media sampled during this projects are CNN Indonesia, Kompas, Liputan 6, Kumparan, Merdeka, Sindo News, and Tribun News. These seven media are considered to have good journalism as they include various perspective on their articles. The press gave equal and fair view by inviting and citing many people from various political party and background, thus created well-balanced opinions.
“Figures who sent out the positive sentiment on social media about UU MD 3 tried to convince netizens that this act is not trying to diminish democracy and gave assurance that there was no attempt to restrain citizens from criticising the legislative body,” said Lamia, research associate of CfDS.
However, the news sentiment spread across the seven media portal was found to be negative with the aggregate up to -180. The critics and contra mostly came from students, academics and legal practitioners, also NGO and activists. The peak of the discussion regarding UU MD 3 happened between February 13 to 15 and March 14 to 15.
Meanwhile, on Twitter, it was observed that 69% of tweets that were collected by the research team gave negative sentiment, with only 2% supported the bill. Furthermore, the percentage of tweets about the user’s opinion just made up 43% of the data collected.
“Most Twitter users gave negative sentiments and critics saying how UU MD3 is illegal and violating the constitution and citizen’s rights. Also, preliminary findings also show that many users use Twitter only to quote the news instead of voicing their own opinions,” Viyasa added.
The discussion about UU MD3 reached its peak on 13-14 March 2018 or 30 days after the bill was passed. Furthermore, there are four national political figures whose names often included on the conversation among users, which are President Joko Widodo, Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasona Laoly, as well as two prominent members of House of Representatives Fahri Hamzah and Fadli Zon. Up to 1.07% of tweets collected mentioned the president’s name, or equivalent of about 500 tweets which mostly conveyed negative sentiment and disappointment toward his presidency as his response was considered indecisive regarding this bill.
The research team also identified the existence of buzzers on Twitter that can be seen from the content of the tweets and matching them to the characteristics of the fake accounts, such as unclear user’s identity, referencing unreliable news sources, and tendency to quote controversial news. According to Viyasa and Lamia, the presence of these accounts is indeed intended to direct public opinion to a particular perception.
Buzzers also contributed to the spreading of false news (hoax) and hate speech in social media today. Therefore, there is a need to minimise the negative culture to prevent further discordance in Indonesia by acting more wisely on the internet.
“Acting wisely in a sense that we have to be responsible on what we write and upload on the internet. We can develop this through digital literacy education. Furthermore, we also must understand the framework of receiving, processing, and disseminating information through the internet responsibly to avoid harming others,” said Viyasa before ending the press conference.