Cekfakta.com Playbook ID
Table of Contents
Cekfakta.com was established in the midst of a heated situation ahead of the 2019 General Election, when the polarization that has existed since the 2014 General Election has not been extinguished, and is even increasing. Therefore, it is wrong to say that Cekfakta.com's first important mission is to stem the spread of hoaxes before and during the 2019 election year.
The character of the 2019 Election hoaxes is different from the 2014 Election hoaxes. In the 2014 Elections, the hoaxes that dominated the public sphere were mostly themed attacking each other between the supporting camps. Hoax news targeting the legitimacy of holding elections only appeared before the election day. As for the 2019 election, hoaxes questioning the legitimacy of holding elections had appeared even several months before voting day.
With its extensive network of members, CekFakta.com collaboration can get a quick response from the 2019 election hoax targets. When there are hoaxes involving election-related institutions, for example, or hoaxes that originate from the election organizing committee, the journalists involved in this collaboration can get clarification from first hand sources. The results of the clarification can then be immediately broadcasted on Cekfakta.com and then jointly disseminated through their respective channels.
This collaboration model has proven effective in many hoax cases throughout the 2019 election campaign. For example, when there was an issue that the Indonesian Blind Association (Pertuni) accused the Braille version of the ballot was deliberately made differently to benefit one of the presidential candidates. It is said that the braille for number 1 has raised letters, while for number 2 it is not palpable. The news that has the potential to damage the credibility of the election was quickly clarified as a hoax by Tempo.co journalists and immediately included in Cekfakta.com database. Once published on Cekfakta.com, of course this content can be shared and distributed together.
The next challenge is entering the election day and the post-voting period. In those moments, a lot of unclear information appeared sporadically from various regions. The issues were varied, ranging from the question of whether the ballot was valid or not, to the question of counting the votes using the C1 form. This is where the capacity of Cekfakta.com is tested.
Therefore, we agreed to gather on the two days of the election at Soehanna Hall, the ground floor of The Energy Building in the SCBC area, South Jakarta. Supported by the Google News Initiative, all media and member institutions of the Cekfakta.com network gathered together with a dozen students we recruited from Multimedia Nusantara University and University of Indonesia.
Two weeks earlier, we communicated with programmers from Meedan, an open technology non-profit organization. Facilitated by Irene Jay Liu from GNI, we discussed the most effective mechanism to verify various hoaxes that occurred during the election. Meedan has a Check app which is already widely used by fact checkers in many other countries.
After a series of discussions, we agreed that Cekfakta.com would use Check as a platform base in filtering out hoaxes on social media, before being verified directly in the field and broadcast to the Yudistira platform. In this content management system made by Mafindo, Mafindo's editors will help carry out the final inspection before the content can be published on Cekfakta.com.
By using a network of journalists from the media that are members of this collaboration, the fact-checking of various hoaxes circulating during the election can take place quicker. After it is agreed that a hoax will be investigated, the journalists who are located closest to the hoax point, can immediately go there and verify the claim. The media that did not have journalists at the location were helped by the clarification they received because they could also participate in publishing the clarifying article.
One example is when a 6 minute 24 second video circulated on the voting day. The video has gone viral on social media, and shows a crowd somewhere in North Sumatra expressing their disappointment with the KPU. The person who spread the video posted a narrative that this was one of the evidences of fraud in the 2019 presidential election.
Considering how sensitive this information is, the team that is currently conducting a live fact-checking immediately decided to look for journalists from the nearest location. Luckily, there was a Liputan6 journalist in North Sumatra who was able to go to the location. He then confirmed the truth to the Chairman of the North Sumatra KPU, and got the fact that the video was an old video from the 2018 North Tapanuli Pilkada. This clarification was immediately broadcasted on Cekfakta.com and was published simultaneously.
It is undeniable that 2019 was a busy year for Cekfakta.com with its various activities. We did not only fact-check the information circulating on social media, but also fact-check the information presented by the candidates, especially the presidential and vice-presidential candidates in a series of debates held by the KPU.
The live fact-checking program in the presidential debate was carried out because Cekfakta.com wanted to help the public to get clear information on the claims submitted by candidates. We hope that Cekfakta.com can contribute so that the public knows more about the capacity and character of the contesting candidates.
On the first day of the presidential debate, we gathered at the Google Indonesia office, in SCBD, South Jakarta. Dozens of fact-checkers from various media gathered in one room to examine the facts or claims of each candidate's statements. We also invited a number of experts, academics and representatives of civil society who are familiar with the issues being debated. Their input will make it easier for fact-checkers to find sources of information to examine candidates' claims. These experts can also directly become sources whose statements are quoted for writing related fact-check articles.
The fact-checking on the first day of the debate was lively. Because the candidates may not know that there will be fact-checking activities for each of their statements, both presidential candidates Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, often spit out numbers and data to support their claims or disprove the opponent's claims. We then examined various references to facts and data in their claims. There are some claims that have been proven to be true and some have been proven to be false.
For example, in one part of the debate, the incumbent presidential candidate, Joko Widodo, claimed that in the last 3 years there had been no forest fires. This claim was quickly verified by checking the databases of the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) and the relevant Ministries. It is proven that this claim is wrong because there were still forest fires during that period.
Likewise, presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto claimed that economic growth in Indonesia was considered stagnant by the World Bank. After fact checking, this claim is false. From research on all World Bank releases on Indonesia, there is no such statement.
Several fact-checking articles from the presidential debate process went viral on social media. No doubt, Cekfakta.com has become a public concern. Maybe that is why, just two days after the first debate, the domain Cekfakta.com was hacked by an irresponsible party. Cekfakta.com site was down for a while, before finally being able to be restored again with better security.
On the day of the 2019 election announcement, the Cekfakta.com team gathered again. We are aware of the dissatisfaction of several community groups, some of whom are still influenced by hoax narratives such as ballots being punched, servers being hacked, vote counting systems that are said to be controlled by foreigners or generalizations about election violations. The politically uncertain situation can cause old claims about election fraud to be brought up again on social media. We are ready to check it again.
After the announcement of the election, there was a large demonstration in Jakarta on May 21-22, 2019. At least six people died, dozens were injured. There were hundreds of demonstrators arrested by the police and there was damage in several places. The polarization that occurs is very likely to be triggered by hoaxes that are still rampant because many are circulating in closed conversation applications that fact checkers cannot monitor. The hoax narrative of the delegitimization of the election still occurred even in the final stages when the 2019 presidential election process was heard at the Constitutional Court.
However, in general, it seems that the hoaxes surrounding the election are only believed by certain groups who feel politically defeated. The spread of this hoax was not widespread due to the effectiveness of the movement to prevent mis/disinformation. The cohesiveness of various stakeholders to maintain the credibility of information about the election prevents other members of the community from being quickly influenced by this series of hoaxes.
During the simultaneous Regional Head Elections (Pilkada) in December 2020, Cekfakta.com again contributed to conducting direct fact checks on the debates between candidates and also the voting.
However, due to the spread of implementation in many areas, Cekfakta.com relies on AMSI, AJI and Mafindo networks that exist in every province, city or district that conducted Pilkada.
The situation became more difficult as the pandemic forced us to do all our fact checks online. From the fact-checking training stage, to fact-checking activities during candidate debates, everything is done through the Slack application on each computer.
The advantage of this online model is that it costs less. We didn't have to travel to other areas and didn't need to rent a special room to do a fact check. In addition, the online model also allows fact-checkers to work across regions.
With these innovative programs, Cekfakta.com is becoming more and more familiar to the public as a special fact-checking site, accompanying TurnBackHoax.ID which already existed. The increase in International Fact Checker Network certified media, starting from Tirto, then Liputan6, Kompas, Tempo, Mafindo, and Suara, each of which has a special fact-checking channel-- also becomes an important part of the fact-checking ecosystem in Indonesia.
Cekfakta.com already uses the Fact Check Markup Tool or commonly known as the fact check tag. So that the Cekfakta.com database can also be accessed globally through the Fact Check Explorer provided by Google. This makes it easier for the public, not only in Indonesia, but also for people abroad to find out what hoaxes are circulating in Indonesia.
It is not surprising that several countries then invited Cekfakta.com to share their experiences on how this collaboration was built and what the challenges were. On December 1, 2018, Cekfakta.com was invited by the Myanmar ICT for Development Organization to explain how Cekfakta.com works, and how collaboration in Myanmar can also use the tools created by Cekfakta.com.
Then on February 1, 2019, media organizations in Thailand held the Trusted Media Summit Thailand, and Cekfakta.com was also asked to share their experiences there. On September 21, 2019, Cekfakta.com was also invited to speak by Suruhanjaya Communications and Multimedia Malaysia.
On October 8, 2019, the Forum on Fact Checking in Asia, which was held in Taipei, also presented Cekfakta.com. In the 2019 Trusted Media Summit held by the Google News Initiative APAC in Singapore in December 2019, Cekfakta.com was asked to share experiences with regional audiences.
Yvonne Chua, program coordinator for Tsek.ph, a fact-check collaboration initiative in the Philippines to counteract 2019 election hoaxes, said they were inspired by Cekfakta.com in Indonesia.
In early 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic began. The statement by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Munich, Germany in February 2020 about the dangers of the ‘infodemic’ in the spread of the coronavirus became a danger signal to all fact-checkers. Tedros Adhanom emphasized that because there is not much information to guide the handling of this pandemic, hoaxes related to COVID19 will certainly run rampant.
In Indonesia, various elements in the Cekfakta.com collaboration began to move to close ranks in order to clear up information about the pandemic. Evidently, this effort is not easy. How quickly conspiracy theories, rumors and hoaxes flooded Indonesian social media lines. This was exacerbated by poor public communication of government officials at the start of the pandemic which seemed inconsistent.
As a result, public confusion is getting worse. In a study published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene on August 10, 2020, Indonesia was ranked 5th in the world for the spread of conspiracy theories, rumors and stigma from data recorded from December 2019 to April 2020.
Even when the government planned a vaccine program in July 2020, hoaxes about vaccines began to emerge. The spread of hoaxes about vaccines increased sharply in December 2020 and January 2021, ahead of the announcement by the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) regarding the passage of the Sinovac vaccine for mass use, and the implementation of the first vaccination in Indonesia.
Mafindo noted that the hoaxes clarified by the Mafindo fact-checking team during 2020 reached 2298 articles, which were dominated by health hoaxes. This has almost doubled compared to the previous year.
This COVID19 hoax is very dangerous and can kill people. In the midst of a global pandemic situation, hoaxes like this make them refuse hospital treatment, question the effectiveness of health protocols and stay away from science-based instructions.
Those who were caught by this hoax believed that the hospital deliberately labeled patients as being infected to COVID19, and that the interactions with the drugs prescribed by the doctor could actually kill the patient. This makes people reluctant or unwilling to be treated by health workers. In a number of areas, many COVID19 patients were treated too late and eventually died due to being consumed by hoaxes.
The spread of the COVID19 vaccine hoax has also made some people reject the government's vaccination program. The rampant infodemic threatens the achievement of the COVID19 vaccine immunization coverage target.
For this reason, the Cekfakta.com collaboration continues to work to stem the hoax around COVID19 and the COVID19 vaccine. When the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, the COVID19 Handling Committee and National Economic Recovery (KPCPEN), and the Ministry of Health distributed digital flyers to the public on how to check hoax information, apart from the official government website covid19.go.id and kominfo.go.id, the website Cekfakta.com and turnbackhoax.id were also included.
In addition, several members of Cekfakta.com were also involved in the Hoax Buster Indonesia group which focused on fighting COVID19 hoaxes. This group contains cross-sectoral activists between ministries and institutions, as well as health organizations and leaders. (*)
Cekfakta.com collaboration is the initiator for further collaboration with other relevant stakeholders in the big movement against mis/disinformation in Indonesia.
- Cekfakta.com collaboration is the initiator for further collaboration with other relevant stakeholders in the big movement against mis/disinformation in Indonesia.
- In general elections, Cekfakta.com plays a role in providing clear information to prospective voters regarding claims in presidential candidate statements so that citizens can vote more accurately.
- On the day of voting and the announcement of election results, the collaboration of Cekfakta.com plays a role in maintaining the credibility and integrity of the election organizers and their results so that the public is not easily influenced by baseless hoax attacks.
- This model was carried out again in the simultaneous Regional Head Elections (Pilkada) in 2020, also marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the General Election Commission.
- In the Covid-19 pandemic, Cekfakta.com opened collaboration with cross-sectoral and all institutions that handle the pandemic so that accurate information can be conveyed to the public more quickly and victims of hoaxes do not continue to fall.