Unsatisfied Islamic hardliners plan further action against Facebook following anti-climactic protest

Members of the hardline group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) march with their leader Rizieq Shihab during a protest calling for a provincial police chief to step down over what they say was ‘police violence’ against them, outside of the National Police headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 16, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Last Friday’s protest by Islamic hardliner groups under the coalition name “Alliance Against Facebook’s Wickedness” came to a rather awkward and anti-climactic conclusion as the social media giant’s Jakarta HQ was closed for the day, meaning the protesters’ demands fell on deaf ears.

The hardliners, with protesters reportedly numbering over 1,000 people, had to settle for filing a letter to Facebook containing their demands and conveying their displeasure with the social media network for banning multiple pages and groups related to the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) which they argued was an attempt at censoring all things Islamic (though it in fact specific to FPI due to the group’s promotion violence and discrimination, a violation of Facebook’s community standards.

The hardliners say they are unsatisfied with the results of their protest and will continue with their moral crusade against Facebook.

“We’ll wait until Monday and if there’s no answer [from Facebook], we’ll mobilize again. We might mobilize like before (on Friday), and we demand that the government get involved to protect the interests of its people,” said Eggi Sudjana, an advisor for the protest movement, as quoted by Detik today.

While nobody was at Facebook HQ to listen to the protesters’ demands, the company did issue a statement to the media saying that they are committed to keeping the platform safe from negative content and anyone who spreads hatred toward others.

As a result of having their pages blocked by Facebook, the Islamic hardliners also carried out a 24-hour blanket boycott of social media last month in a move that seemingly hurt nobody but themselves. It appears that groups within the Alliance Against Facebook’s Wickedness now have differing opinions on future boycotts of the social media network while an alternative is being created, with some calling for totally abandoning Facebook while others, like the FPI, conceding that they still need Facebook to preach their values online.

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