Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Jadi TELADAN #2: Hoaxes and Fake News

Jadi TELADAN is a casual talk show that discusses various topics about Indonesia’s future leaders. The program is hosted by Tanoto Foundation, an independent family philanthropy organisation founded by Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto in 1981.

The internet and social media have allowed easier access to information than ever before, but they’ve also given rise to the growing problem of misinformation, fake news and hoaxes.

And although they may be digital natives, young people are just as vulnerable as everyone else.

In this second of episode of Jadi TELADAN, our host Robinson Sinurat talks with Meidyatama Suryodiningrat or Dimas, the President Director of Antara News, and Kasyfil Warits, Corporate Communications Manager of PT Bank Mandiri, Tbk., to dig deeper into digital literacy and how young people can help fight fake news. They cover:

a. What is fake news

b. Why are millennials still falling for misinformation?

c. How big is the impact for our young generation?

d. How can you avoid spreading misleading information?

The Dangers of Creating and Sharing Hoaxes and Fake News 

The solution, our guests agreed, is better digital literacy, but Dimas said that many young Indonesians still lagged here, making them more susceptible to hoaxes and fake news.

So what can you do? Our guests recommend these steps:

Take Time to Process Information

It’s tempting to hit share as soon as you see something interesting. Therefore, Kasyfil said that it’s important to take time to process the information.  

He said that the best methods to prevent ourselves from believing or spreading fake news were by pausing and reading thoroughly and making sure that the content was  factual. 

Be  Mindful Online

Dimas encouraged millennials to be mindful online. 

“You may not care about this nation’s wisdom, about the politics or social change in this country, that is up to you,” he said, “But remember, you have to care about yourself. Everything you do, sharing, […] creating hoaxes, and so on, everything is recorded digitally. And when you have a career, the footprint won’t disappear.”

“I’ll just say one thing: do not be stupid. Think. You are all well-educated people, act like one,” Dimas added.

Get to know more:

Video Transcript

“Hi, T-Friends! We’re back again with the Jadi Teladan program.

Our topic today is Becoming The Anti-Hoax Young Generation.

Now, we have special guests with us. The first guest is Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, casually called Dimas, currently the President Director of Antara News.

Thank you for coming, Dimas and welcome to the Tanoto Foundation Center.”

“Thank you, glad to be here.”

“And, the second is Kasyfil. Currently, Kasyfil is working at PT Bank Mandiri, tbk, as Corporate Communication Manager.

Thank you for your time, Kasyfil and welcome to the Tanoto Foundation Center.”


“Thank you, Robin. So glad to be able to be back here.”

“Let’s jump right into it. I’d like to ask Dimas, based on your experience in journalism, how strong is digital literacy among the young generation?”

“The current media literacy in Indonesia is practically in the same state as media literacy all over the world.

It is not only a problem in Indonesia. It could be a generational issue. It happens in every part of the world.

For example, we are now talking a lot about our current situation. The British Medical Journal published by the British Medical Association equivalent to our Indonesian Medical Association. Their study found that, when it comes to vaccine, more than 60 percent of YouTube content has a negative tone.

More than 60 percent. According to the British Medical Journal, published just three days ago.

They also found that those who sourced their news and information from social media as the solely, are those who have refused the vaccine. 

So, it’s not about how fast the fingertips move compared to the brain. But, for me, the literacy level is low because our culture is not yet ready for it.

So, it’s not surprising that the literacy level is low. The question is; whose duty is it to fix and increase the media literacy level?”

“In fact, Dimas, explain the meaning of what a hoax is? And, are there levels to it?”

“Fake news is not news. Fake is fake, news is news. A hoax is nothing more than information that is false or lies.

But, there are more differences.  There is something called misinformation. Misinformation is when you wrongly say that you are 25, when in fact you are 50. But, you didn’t have any ill intention, you just made a mistake, mistyped some numbers. It happens every day.

And there’s another thing called disinformation or mal-information which is created on purpose. 

Everyone can give out wrong information unintentionally. For example, giving a wrong address, or getting your name wrong. But not intentionally.

Misinformation, disinformation becomes a hoax when it is purposefully made with intention to fool. So, we should comprehend that. 

In official media outlets, the accredited ones, if they make a mistake in the news, it is regarded as false news. Unintended. Just correct it . A hoax is intended to fool someone.”

“Some say that millennials are the most vulnerable generation to hoaxes. What do you say, Kasyfil?”

“This is actually interesting. From my point of view, I know some people who say that the millennials are currently the most likely to spread fake news,

Maybe, by nature, social media is highly populated by millennial users

So, regardless, it is our duty as millennials, since we are the main users. Hoaxes are rampant across social media and the percentage is higher in the social media compared to the messaging platforms. Especially because conventional news has been through several verification steps and always checked.

For social media, it is more interesting. That is why millennials are always convicted as, ‘the ones who spread hoaxes’ because they are the ones who populate it.

And, more interestingly in Indonesia, young people seem to copy each other.”


“That means, in terms of literacy, the culture in Indonesia has not yet developed enough to encourage further checks.

For example, when we receive information, no one thinks like ‘is this information valid?’ That is what millennials are like. We do not do that because we keep copying others. We, as the millennials, have the tendency to be like ‘I’ll just directly share, I’ll just read it all the way and react impulsively! We just believe it. Probably that is why millennials are deemed to be vulnerable to hoaxes.”

“Back to Dimas. You explained about the misinformation and disinformation. What do you think the causes of those are?”

“Just like what I said. It is naturally not a generational problem. It becomes one because the millennials are larger in number. “


“But, in terms of frequency, it’s more than that. But, the real problem here is the culture. Because of the so-called freedom. People usually think ‘This is my right.’ People feel ‘I can criticize freely.’ Yes, that is your right and we live in a democratic society

But, what really happened in social media, online, is that insults are covered as criticism with so-called intellectuality, concealed by anonymity.”

“Wow, that’s heavy”

“The subject of anonymity becomes an issue.”

“I’m sure that 90 percent of what has been said, conveyed, shared, narrated online, right now when we sit together, face-to-face, won’t dare to say it.

This anonymity makes people be reckless. It is like ‘Ah, freedom. I can say anything.’ Do you have the guts to say that straight to someone’s face? Probably not.

It is like we forget about our culture, manners, and all that, when we’re online. The same thing happens to fake news, hoaxes, etc.”

“Kasyfil, what are the causes?”

“Right. First, I really agree with Dimas. That hoaxes are easier to believe because content like this is accessible. Meanwhile, I think to improve their literacy levels requires more effort.

When we are being shared something on WhatsApp, or, for example, there is information with a funny meme on Twitter, when in fact it is wrong information. We still have the tendency to believe it. In fact, the easiest way to educate ourselves is by putting more effort in. ‘Is this news for real?’ 

So, it’s interesting that to achieve literacy, we have to be smart, as the party who issues the information.

We can create content that is accessible for the millennials.

According to a survey from the Ministry of Communications, digital literacy in Indonesia has yet to achieve good levels. In order to avoid the millennials moving fast with their fingertips, what should we do the able to identify a hoax?”

“In this case, T-Friends, right?”

“Yes, right, T-Friends!”

“Tanoto Scholars?”

“Tanoto Scholars and millennials at large. Talking to Scholars, I’ll just say one thing: do not be stupid. Think.

“Think. Thinking before doing?”


“I see”

“You are all well-educated people, act like one.”


“Back to you, Kasyfil. Can you share your story on how to identify hoaxes?”

“Maybe I’ll also share what to do”


“Because I’m working for a financial institution, banking, in which one of the most valuable things for the business is the trust of our customer, right? We are also very vulnerable to hoaxes.

The way to identify a hoax is, first, when you hear about it, for instance, we’re usually informed by our monitoring team, on social media. Just think that ‘it can’t be true’, and you can identify the trustworthiness of the source, just like what Dimas said

If you have never heard about the news office, right? The easiest way for us Comms people is by doing the media tiering method.

This media tiering (method) allows us to identify that ‘this news was spread by the bad guy’. It means that it’ll be easier for us to educate our customers about the hoaxes.”

“From the media perspective, how should we handle these wide-spreading hoaxes, Dimas?”

“Probably one of the main causes of all this is the digital economy and digital content en masse. Growth is highly supported by what we call views, click-baits, etc.

This urge for commercialization, the urge to publish, or upload, or share something that will later be… what do we call this? liked

Thumb? Like, like, share

Like, thumb, follow, and…



“I bet, just open every social media platform, what kind of content get the most likes, shares, thumbs, whatever? What content? It’s about that.

So, in the end, it is up to the customers, in my view, not to be easily captivated by the click-bait.

The second is, we are embracing a culture where the information has no value anymore. No one subscribes to the newspaper anymore, no one purchases paywall anymore. Something cheap, free, won’t have value. And, when something has no value, no one will take it seriously. And, the thing is, you should always remember that every information we processed are tied to our emotions.”

“What can we do to prevent consuming fake news or hoaxes?”

“As millennials, right?”


“Speaking on behalf of T-Friends. I’ll ask it further to you later, Dimas”

“Okay. Although I feel that millennials prefer anything instant, we just like to express things, but it’s important that we remember when we’re on social media. Take time to process information.

Because, by pausing and reading thoroughly, making sure, those are the right ways and the best methods to prevent ourselves from believing or spreading fake news. 

Millennials do not favour longer, complicated processes. But, it’s important to have time to process everything. That’s the key, do not rush.”

“Dimas, any advice from you, based on years of experience in journalism? Is there anything to say to T-Friends, the millennials who are also our listeners?”

“I’ll say it in a simple way. You may not care about this nation’s wisdom, about the politics or social change in this country, that is up to you

But remember, you have to care about yourself. Everything you do, sharing, like—what else?—creating hoax, and so on, everything is recorded digitally. And when you have career, the footprint won’t disappear.

As the leader of a company, my digital footprint will always be seen, it is just like a CV, will always be checked.”

“Kasyfil, maybe you have advice for the millennials, for T-Friends?”

“This might be hard to apply, for the millennials, but actually, this is a preparation for the future. Do not lose integrity. Because in my opinion, integrity, when we work for someone, is crucial to see how valuable we are as humans.”

“Thanks  for your time”

“Thank you, thank you”

“And for us, T-Friends, there is so much to learn from our amazing guests today. I hope T-Friends who have been listening can implement what we have learned today. See you in the next Jadi Teladan!”

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