In recent weeks, Indonesia has seen a sudden proliferation of fake news stories spreading on social media about child kidnappers. The viral hoaxes have caused great concern among certain citizens and authorities have been trying to clamp down on the falsehoods before they cause real damage (like the child kidnapping hoaxes in India that have led to several innocents being killed).
Indonesian police say they have now arrested two people suspected of engineering the horrific hoaxes, one in Central Jakarta and the other in the Jakarta satellite city of Bogor.
During a press conference today at National Police Headquarters in Jakarta, head spokesperson Setyo Wasisto said that initials interrogations of the two suspects indicated that their motivation had basically been trolling.
“Their motive was just having fun. This is terrible, I must ask the public, especially users of social media, to never take it easy, because the impact of this sort of thing is extraordinary,” Setyo said as quoted by Kompas.
Setyo did not reveal any more details about the suspects, whether they were connected in any way or the specific hoaxes they had perpetrated.
Numerous child kidnapping hoaxes have been documented and debunked by officials recently, some of which go so far as to claim that children are being kidnapped so that their organs can be harvested and sold off. Although the stories have been proven false, most use real photos or video that give them a sense of disturbing authenticity.
Police previously speculated that the hoaxes could be the work of a group of individuals who had the goal of sowing unrest among the public.
Setyo said authorities were still on the hunt for other child kidnapping scammers and called upon the public and the media to be extremely careful in sharing and reporting on any such stories in the future.