[PRESS RELEASE] Fighting Terrorism in the Age of Social Media
Wed, 23 May 2018 || By Admin CfDS

Yogyakarta, May 22, 2018 – The existence of social media has brought new phenomenon in our society. Through social media, netizens can interact and exchange ideas which can go viral beyond the state lines. Unfortunately, it we also begin to see enough contents that have negative sentiment towards particular groups, which include hate speech and call for an act of terrors, among other things. The existence of radical views and terrorism in social media has become a concern among citizens, and the Indonesian government, especially in the light of terror acts occurred in several big cities in Indonesia recently. Center for Digital Society (CfDS) UGM invited Minardi, Head of Scouting and Research Division of Arus Informasi Santri (AIS) Nusantara at DigiTalk #17 to discuss steps to fight terrorism through social media on Tuesday (22/5).

AIS Nusantara started as a platform for communication to connect pondok pesantren (Islamic boarding school) all over the country. Before AIS Nusantara, every boarding school had their own social media account, and they mainly used WhatsApp to communicate with other schools, but then they are united under AIS Nusantara founded on April 3rd, 2016. The purpose of establishing AIS Nusantara is also to create Islamic contents that are more moderate and gentle, to paint a new image of the modern santri.  The programs and activities done by AIS Nusantara are a poster and video competitions, visit various boarding schools and other events related to social media and santri.

After introducing AIS Nusantara, Minardi started the discussion by explaining the definition of social media, which he emphasized on the technology and social interaction that occurs through the technology. AIS Nusantara often creates and shared digital contents as a reaction and statement regarding issues that are popular in Indonesia. For example, AIS Indonesia released a poster with ‘Indonesia Bukan Arena Mobile Legend’ (Indonesia is not an arena for Mobile Legend) to show sympathy and grievances after the bomb attacks in Surabaya several days ago. Minardi then discussed the history of terrorism in social media using ISIS that declared their struggle for Islamic caliphate through Twitter in 2013 as an example. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) identified seven patterns of terrorism using social media, such as propaganda, recruitment, funding, training, planning, dissemination of terror, and cyber attacks.

Before ending his presentation, Minardi asked the audience to work together in fighting against terrorism on social media. He shared several tips, such as stay calm during and after the attacks and not distribute news before we confirm its validity, create contents that promote peace and tolerance, and also do not contribute by sharing or commenting on harmful substances on social media.  Furthermore, Minardi underlined the need for movement among citizens as terrorism is our common enemy and the prevention of terrorism would be more effective if we do it together. Citizen participation is a vital aspect of our fight against terrorism in the digital era.

“The government plays a big role, but citizens can create even bigger impact. The awareness and collective action that includes a wide range of actors in society are key to counter terrorism in the digital world," Minardi said.

Reporter: Raka Wicaksono