Information Minister Tifatul, the Hitler-admiring and shaker-of-Michele-Obama’s-hands-in-denial Information Minister gets a lot of things wrong, but his angst at anonymous accounts on Twitter that use insults to attack people has some merit to it.
Make no mistake, Unspun’s 100 percent in agreement with Wicaksono aka Ndoro Kakung in the story below. There are just too many Twitter accounts to be able to crack down on, and who’s to decide what’s insulting and what’s not? One person’s insult may be another person’s attempt at honesty.
Nevertheless the nature of Twitter users have changed somewhat in Indonesia. It used to be quite a friendly and quite a well-mannered place. Disagreements were allowed and there was some decorum. Lately however, maybe because every man and his dog are now on Twitter, the nature of the conversations there have deteriorated and some Tweeters have built a sizable following based on Twits that insult others. One young journalist, for instance, has about 20,000 people following merely because he pisses on anyone and everything within range. The Tweets are an angry rant at the world and not at all even witty or intelligent, which would have mitigated its boorishness.
Sadly, there is more and more people like that journalist. They have a following because the Twitter crowd in Indonesia is looking for entertainment, not information or conversations. They get excited when someone is pissing on others and if a pissing contest ensues between two people it is even more entertaining. And if you have detractors who dare not confront you face to face, the anonymity and impersonal nature of Twitter allows them to join in the pissing contest, a bit like the Roman senators joining in to stab at Cesar during the Ides of March.
In social media terms they are trolls. A troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous or off topic messages either in Twitter or other social platforms with the primary intent of provoking a reaction or of distracting you from the topic in discussion. Such people are not open to reason, no matter how much you try. What do you do with people like that?
The best course of action is to monitor what they say but ignore them completely. If they don’t get a rise out of you they will eventually tire and pick on someone else.
And what of the ever lingering electronic disparagement they have made of you? Relax. There is so much clutter and insults out there that such posts will hardly make a dent because even though social media is the rave of the town it is often the traditional media that legitimizes or gives credibility to a story or claim. Unless that happens there is very little reason to rise to their bait.
By announcing that the Government is targeting the trolls, Tifatul is playing exactly into their hands. Already Twitter today is full of rude and insulting remarks about the Minister. Some things are best left alone. There is too much of other important things for the Information Minister to do, such as how to close the digital divide and improve the bandwidth and the horrible state of mobile communications in this country. They have too much time on their hands, indeed.
‘Rude’, ‘Anonymous’ Tweeters Beware: Tifatul to Target Twitter | The Jakarta GlobeAfter blocking access to almost one million pornographic Web sites, the Communication and Information Technology Ministry is now targeting anonymous accounts on Twitter. Minister Tifatul Sembiring said on Monday that he has learned that Twitter was filled with many anonymous accounts that often use insults to attack other people.
“We are now studying it. Because if they really violate [laws] and insult people, they could be reported as spam. Then their [accounts] could be closed by Twitter officials,” he said. Complaints can be filed against Twitter users that disturb the public or attack and offend public figures, he claimed, even if it is an anonymous account.
“If they violate the laws, they will be punished. Principally, every account user could be held responsible by tracing his position and device,” he said. Based on the Information and Electronic Transactions ITE Law, Tifatul said, there are five violations in the cyber world that can warrant legal charges: pornography, gambling, threats, fraud and blasphemy.The ITE Law stipulates that anyone who violates the law could face seven to 12 years of imprisonment.
Blogger Wicaksono, who has about 55,000 followers on Twitter, told the Jakarta Globe the ministry had too much time in its hands if it actually pursued that plan. He said there were growing numbers of anonymous accounts, but many of those accounts are tweeting humorous material, such as an account named Suster Ngesot the mythical crawling nurse ghost. “And what is the definition of insulting? It has so many interpretations,” he said.