It’s sadly common for fake news stories and hoaxes to spread in times of crisis, spreading even more fear and uncertainty. Indonesia — which saw a succession of suicide bombings and terrorist attacks this week — is no different in this regard, with one particular insidious hoax spreading dangerous lies about motorcycle taxi hailing service Go-Jek.
Recently, a chain message has been spreading on messaging platforms like WhatsApp warning that ISIS has infiltrated Go-Jek’s food delivery service, Go-Food. As shared by Go-Jek’s Twitter account, the message says that ISIS members are posing as Go-Jek drivers and that they have been putting some unspecified poison into people’s food delivery orders. The writer says that their friend’s cousin died after consuming said poison and warns people not to order food through Go-Jek.
GO-JEK Indonesia mengecam tindakan penyebaran hoax seputar layanan kami karena sangat merugikan mitra UMKM dan driver yang jujur dan bekerja keras. pic.twitter.com/vnv3r5gf0h
— GO-JEK (@gojekindonesia) May 16, 2018
Go-Jek VP of Corporate Communications, Michael Say, said that the message is a complete hoax and the company has reported the false information to the authorities.
“What’s clear is that it’s a hoax. Today we have officially filed a report with the Jakarta Metro Police Special Crimes Directorate regarding the hoax that has been spreading on social media,” Michael said, as quoted by Kompas yesterday.
Michael urged the police to identify and arrest the hoax spreader as soon as possible because Go-Jek’s partner drivers stand to lose the most from the misinformation.
“This implicates the prosperity of our partner [drivers]. We have to protect our partners who work hard to serve their customers and provide for their families,” he said.
The Jakarta Metro Police have not yet said if they were investigating the hoax. However, National Police Spokesperson Setyo Wasisto has confirmed that there was no truth to the message and warned that its spreader could face criminal charges.
Under Indonesia’s Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE), spreading misinformation and fake news online is punishable by up to six years’ imprisonment and a fine of IDR1 billion (US$70,745).