Given all of the grim news about terrorism this week, some people were probably wondering if President Joko Widodo was losing it when his official Twitter account sent this message out to his 10.2 million followers yesterday afternoon:
For those of you who are not up on your Bahasa Indonesia or J-Pop inspired girl idol groups, Jokowi’s account was responding to a tweet from a fan account for Beby Chaesara, a member of JKT48 (the Jakarta version of Japanese idol girl group AKB48). @Jokowi responds to @Bebyyers tweet by saying, “Wow awesome! Reminds me of the nervousness of the Senbatsu Uza last week” (we looked it up and Senbatsu Uza is apparently a term for a kind singing competition within huge J-Pop idol groups like JKT48).
The tweet was only up briefly before being deleted but, as with all things on the internet, it only takes a nanosecond for such embarrassments to be screenshotted for eternal posterity.
Now, as you have already guessed, President Jokowi was not in fact revealing a previously hidden love for J-Pop (though the famous metalhead wouldn’t be the first older Indonesian dude to have a creepy obsession with JKT48, as evidenced by this great and disturbing documentary from Vice Indonesia).
Instead, this seems to have been simply a matter of social media mismanagement on the part of his communications staff. Yes, unlike a certain orange-hued US president, Jokowi (and pretty much every other sane world leader) does not write and post messages to his social media accounts directly, instead relying on a team of professionals who are supposed to write out his socmed missives to the public and make sure they are checked for clarity and accuracy.
Obviously, that didn’t happen in this case and Bey Machmudin, the deputy for protocol, press and media for the Presidential Secretariat, said that the person responsible has been dismissed.
“This has been traced and we found the problem came from one of the account manager admins … The concerned has now been discharged,” Bey said through an official press release picked up by Kompas yesterday, adding that additional security protocols had been added to prevent any more similar incidents.
We’d guess that the dismissed admin simply forgot to switch from the president’s account to their own personal account, perhaps overly excited by their beloved idol’s exploits. It’s not a hard mistake to make, though it seems fair to expect somebody who has access to the president’s Twitter account to triple-check that shit before hitting send.
While it sucks that they lost their job, hopefully the sweet sounds of JKT48 will be able to keep their spirits up.