It looks like Indonesia’s most controversial Islamist hardliner group, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) will be pretty busy for the foreseeable future. In addition to protests against US President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and raids on stores suspected of making their employees wear Santa hats, they have also confirmed plans to protest against social media giant Facebook at the Indonesian headquarters in Jakarta.
Although FPI representatives had already called for a blanket boycott on all things American including Google, Twitter and Facebook in relation to the Jerusalem protests, recently several FPI memes have been shared online through various social media networks (yes, they seem to be dimly cognizant of the irony) stating that the hardliner group plans to physically protest Facebook specifically.
What makes Facebook so special? Well according to this meme poster calling for the protest, one of the main reasons is that Facebook has banned multiple pages and groups related to FPI, with the screen at the top (opposite a photo of fugitive FPI leader Rizieq Shihab) depicting a message from Facebook indicating that an account has been deactivated for violating the site’s terms of service, which include content that promotes violence or discrimination.
The middle section includes a litany of complaints that Facebook has blocked accounts for defending Islam, being anti-LGBT, pro-Palestine, pro-Sharia and pro-Caliphate, while accounts that criticize Islamic scholars, are pro-LGBT, anti-Sharia or anti-Caliphate are allowed to exist.
It is true that FPI’s previously active official pages on Facebook seem to have been taken down (as well as on Twitter and Instagram), no doubt due to their violating Facebook’s TOS regarding the promotion of violence and discrimination (in the past FPI members have physically tracked down and assaulted people for posting things critical of their organization, and their leader Rizieq in particular, on Facebook).
The final section of the meme poster says that a protest will be held at Facebook’s offices in Jakarta, although it does not specify a time. It also asks that FPI followers report Facebook Indonesia’s head to the police for blaspheming Islamic scholars and promoting LGBT.
The last few points ask that followers not use Facebook and tell other Muslims not to use Facebook and instead move to other social media (even though all the main ones are also American and have the same terms of service preventing hate groups like FPI from existing on their platforms). The very last point asks that Muslim researchers and scientists create a social media network exclusively for Muslims that is friendly to their ideology.
Asked to confirm whether the meme was real and came from FPI, the group’s spokesperson Slamet Maarif said it did indeed come from FPI.
“There will be (a protest action against Facebook), but the timing has not been determined. We are still doing our initial organizational meetings,” Slamet told Liputan 6.
As we mentioned above, it looks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have all banned FPI’s official accounts from their platforms (possibly at the request of the Indonesian government, who have sought to remove other radical groups from the internet in the past). Will the hardliners and those who follow them be consistent and start boycotting all major social media sites soon? That sounds nice to us, but we kinda doubt it since their followers are still using Facebook to spread the word about their plans to boycott and demonstrate against Facebook…