Does Tiffy have a point about rude, anonymous Tweeters?

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.


Indonesian Minister’s morbid tweets about Hitler

Whatever he is, Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring isn’t boring, especially when it comes to Tweeting, which he or a team that he hires, does with religious regularity.

Of late, however, @tifsembiring’s tweets have taken a strange, some say morbid turn. He’s taken to Tweeting about Adolf Hitler, you know that guy who killed thousands of people in genocide campaign and brought the world to the brink of chaos with World War II?

First, Tifatul quoted Hitler with this Tweet: “the union between two children, when both of  them complete each other, this is magic “.

Then he tweeted a joke involving Hitler, involving a wordplay of penyakit hidler, which is an acronym of hidung (nose) + meler (runny, as in runny nose). One supposes the humor that Tifatul found was between the wordplay of hidler sounding like Hitler.

The Tweets have unleashed predictable results. Dozens of Indonesia’s Tweeps have written in questioning the sense and sensibility of the man.

At the heart of this broughaha is a central question: what sort of a politician quotes Hitler and makes lame jokes about him on Twitter. What does this say of the calibre of Indonesia’s ministers?

Sieg Heil Tifatul Sembiring!

Unspun missed this piece of news but Nizam over at Multibrand caught it and good job he did.

Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring, who was interesting for the first month or two as a minister plugged into the social networks, has once again tripped over himself in his attempt to appear smarter than he is. The man is beginning to become very irritating instead and Unspun’s thinking of unfollowing @tifsembiring on Twitter and on Facebook. There is only so much recycled quotes you can consume from one person before starting to see them as false prophets.

Quoting Hitler was probably another unthinking act on Tifatul’s part to sound smart when he ain’t really so. Wonder what the acerbic, occasional Twit porn purveyor and Tifatul critique @treespotter has to say about this.

Tifatul Sembiring & Adolf Hitler

Last Thursday, Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring caused a controversy on Twitter when he quoted German NAZI leader Adolf Hitler’s words : ” the union between two children, when both of  them complete each other, this is magic “.

The Jakarta Post reported that Human rights activist Fadjroel Rahman has reacted by saying that it is not appropriate for a Cabinet Minister of a democratic country to quote the words of a person who was responsible for the genocide of at least 6 million Jewish people during the Second World War.

I hope that the posting of above quote does not imply that Tifatul Sembiring, former Chairman of the Prosperous Justice Party which is part of the coalition government,  idolize Adolf Hitler..

via MULTIBRAND: Tifatul Sembiring & Adolf Hitler.

Onliners 1: Minister 0

Tifatul Sembiring made a debut as Indonesian Information Minister by courting bloggers. Two days after his appointment as minister he accept an impromptou invitation and showed up at Pesta Blogger 2009 to open the event.

tifatul sembiring by wongbagoes.

There he promised freedom of expression – with the usual caveat about responsibility. Since then he’s been Twittering furiously and won some admiration from the online community for being technically savvy, compared to the other politicians.

Lately, however, he’s been under heavy attack from the onliners in blogs, Twitter and Facebook about the attempt to have the draft law on multimedia content (known locally as RPM Konten) passed. The law is offensive to onliners as it makes the carrier or provider of the infrastructure, rather than the content generator, liable to prosecution. So if, say, you run a forum and someone posts something offensive or something indecent on the forum you get slapped with the law, not the person posting it.

This resulted in the onliners creating such a racket that this morning President SBY in the Cabiner meeting rapped Tifatul Sembiring on the knuckles by asking his inisters to not jump the gun and to exercise caution before giving statements to the public about sensitive issues.

That is Indonesian politician-speak for “you goofed up.”

Hence the statement from Tifatul below that he woul cancel the draft law if it was considered to be restricting the press.

Tifatul also sai that he’s not read the draft. That’s a bit difficult to believe because he was heard speaking to the BBC that he’s read it.

That’s a minor point though. The real point here is that Indonesia has a vibrant democracy where the onliners, the e-chattering classes, can cause a minister to be rapped on the knuckles by the president.

Now let’s see Malaysia get so democratic. Can’t imagine the bloggers in Malaysia forcing Rais Yatim to do a climbdown.

Multimedia Content Draft Will be Canceled if Press Freedom Threatened: Minister

Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring has said he would cancel the draft on multimedia content if it was considered to be restricting the press.

Tifatul made the statement upon landing in Jakarta from Sweden on Friday for a meeting with a number of cellular phone companies.

“If the draft is restricting the press, I will automatically erase it,” Tifatul told Kompas.

He said the draft had been in the process of being written since 2006, so it was possible that the draft was not in accordance with the present developments. He said that he had never received any report that the draft was about to be launched.

The multimedia content draft had sparked criticism and protests from Indonesian politicians, internet communities and the House of Representatives over concerns that it might violate freedom of expression.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono also discussed the draft in Thursday’s cabinet meeting. He asked his ministers to not jump the gun and to exercise caution before giving statements to the public about sensitive issues.

via Multimedia Content Draft Will be Canceled if Press Freedom Threatened: Minister – The Jakarta Globe.