In January 2018, President Joko Widodo appointed Major General Djoko Setiadi as Head of the newly formed National Cyber and Encryption Agency to help national intelligence agencies and law enforcement efforts combat online misinformation and fake news in advance of the April 2019 general elections. In the run-up to the general elections, social media companies worked with the government to block and remove fake content to combat the spread of misinformation online. Although the government and private sector have taken substantial steps to mitigate misinformation and fake news, the increased usage of social media platforms as a source of news has escalated the prevalence of hate speech and disinformation in Indonesia.

This poses a direct threat to the fourth most populous country in the world by eroding public trust in institutions and the electoral processes, as well as increasing extremism and creating an environment of intolerance in one of the most diverse countries in Southeast Asia. The problem of misinformation and fake news became even more apparent in the post-election violence that followed the reelection of President Joko Widodo on April 17, 2019 which was flared by numerous inaccurate and false news stories surrounding the election results that were shared on social media.

Indonesia misinformation heat mapIn order to quantify Indonesia’s adult population access to traditional media and social media, as well as their exposure to misinformation and fake news, the University of Notre Dame in collaboration with GeoPoll, designed a comprehensive baseline survey instrument. From March 27 – April 24, 2019, GeoPoll’s team of interviewers in Jakarta, Indonesia, implemented a computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) for 1,000 successful interviews. The results of the study can be found here in the detailed case study write-up. To conduct a project like this of your own, contact GeoPoll today.