Hundreds of motorcycle taxi drivers, mostly from Indonesian ride-hailing service Go-Jek, converged upon Bina Darma University in Palembang yesterday. The reason for their en-masse arrival was a single comment, made by one of the university’s students, which insulted the ethics and intelligence of all Go-Jek drivers.
“We just want to find a student named Redi Oktar, we want to question what he means by insulting the online motorcycle taxi profession? Why would he say on social media that we are uneducated, unethical and stupid?” said Rio, one of the drivers, as quoted by Detik yesterday.
Redi allegedly made the comment on an Instagram photo from celebrity Dewi Persik’s account relating to the recent drama over her attempt to use her private vehicle in a busway lane.
Based on screenshots of the comment, Redi wrote:
Yeah so where is a Go-Jek driver with ethics, they haven’t even graduated from elementary school. Fortunately, mbak @dewiperssikreal is smart and she knows if they are wearing green they are fools if they had ethics and a clever brain then they wouldn’t be working for Go-Jek, right?
Redi’s comment was spotted amongst the thousands on Dewi’s photo and quickly went viral within Go-Jek driver social media groups, leading them to track down the student’s real-world location so that local drivers could demand an apology.
“We just ask that the student in question apologize, so this can be a lesson for us all to be wiser about using social media,” Rio added.
Redi did eventually give an apology on the steps of his university in front of the jeering drivers:
According to the head of the Palembang Online Driver’s Association, Yoyon SP, the apology was still not enough and they were consulting with legal representatives about reporting Redi to the police for defamation, presumably under Indonesia’s draconian Law on Electronic Information and Transactions (UU ITE) which potentially criminalizes any information online that could be considered insulting or defamatory to another person.