Jakarta has often been described as the social media capital of the world thanks to the high proportion of social media users in a city with a population of around 15 million (and over 30 million if Jakarta’s satellite cities are included).
It’s no surprise then that social media traffic is incredibly high in Jakarta, with people happily sharing anything from news to memes and even fake stories, which are so prevalent that the English word “hoax” has been adapted into the local language to describe any unverifiable and false viral stories on social media (though locally, it’s pronounced ho-axe).
But false or not, and for better or worse, stories spreading like wildfire are a very common occurrence in Jakartan and Indonesian social media spheres. What results from this phenomenon is, for a lack of a better term, a know-it-all society that isn’t exactly well informed.
There are, however, laws in Indonesia to keep viral stories in check, especially fake stories that may be defamatory towards other people. The Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE) was designed to prevent any form of cyber bullying, though its ambiguous interpretations have been used to criminalize those whose social media conduct is the least bit offensive.