Police Challenged to Re-investigate Saracen Case

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Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - This week, the name of Saracen Group, an online syndicate that the Indonesian police had investigated in 2017 for allegedly proliferating hoaxes in cyber network, has again attracted public attention.

    The name of this online syndicate has become a spotlight of online media and various social media platforms in Indonesia after Head of Facebook`s Cybersecurity Policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, announced the removal of so many Facebook pages, accounts, and groups.

    In a press statement published in the official website of this California-based global company on Jan 31, 2019, Gleicher said that those pages, accounts, and groups were linked to the Saracen Group, an online syndicate in Indonesia.

    He revealed that a total of 207 Facebook Pages, 800 Facebook accounts, 546 Facebook Groups, and 208 Instagram accounts had been taken down for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior on Facebook in Indonesia.

    The removed pages, accounts, and groups had misled others about who they were and what they were doing. "All of these pages, accounts, and groups were linked to the Saracen Group," Gleicher remarked.

    He argued that the removal was carried out because the Saracen Group`s coordinated abuse of the platform using inauthentic accounts was a violation of Facebook`s policies, and we have, therefore, banned the entire organization from the platform.

    Gleicher further disclosed that around 170 thousand people followed at least one of these Facebook pages, and more than 65 thousand followed at least one of these Instagram accounts.

    "Examples of Pages and Groups removed as part of this network are Permadi Arya (Page), Kata Warga (Page), Darknet ID (Page), berita hari ini (Group), and ac milan indo (Group)," he revealed in the FB`s website (https://newsroom.fb.com/news/).

    The main reason for taking down those pages, groups, and accounts was based on their behavior and not the content they were posting.

    "In this case, the people behind this activity coordinated with one another and used fake accounts to misrepresent themselves, and that was the basis of our action."

    Gleicher added that Facebook (FB) has constantly been working to detect and stop this type of activity, because FB does not want its services to be used to manipulate people.

    The removal that the Facebook management announced last January was just one of the many steps that the company had taken to "prevent bad actors from abusing our platform."

    "We will continue to invest heavily in safety and security in order to ensure that people can continue to trust the connections they make on Facebook," Gleicher remarked.

    Gleicher`s announcement has triggered responses of many internet users in Indonesia, because the name of Saracen has returned the public memory to the Saracen case in 2017.

    Incumbent President Joko Widodo himself had expressed his deep concern regarding the Saracen Group in connection with the proliferation of fake news in cyber network.

    Therefore, while speaking in an event at the National Monument, Central Jakarta, on Aug 27, 2017, Widodo ordered the police to probe into the Saracen Group and completely uncover those behind this organized online syndicate.

    The president argued that the acts of individuals who disseminate false information, lies, and slanders were regarded as "destructive." It was horrible if the dissemination was carried out by an organized syndicate. This was horrible if it was left unresolved.

    However, the panel of judges of the Pekanbaru District Court found that the defendant, Jasriadi (33), who was called the boss of the Saracen Group, was not guilty of disseminating hate speech on racial issues in the court proceeding on April 6, 2018.

    In response to this Facebook`s announcement, outspoken Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR) Fahri Hamzah called on the police on Saturday to take an immediate action to uncover the Saracen Group case again and arrest the culprits.

    Hamzah tweeted in his twitter account (https://twitter.com/Fahrihamzah): "the issue of #Seracen, which was directed to another group and was unproven (in the past), has damaged the good image of law enforcers. Now, the culprits have been known..."

    Referring to Facebook`s mission, this social media platform, which is actively used by around 1.52 billion people daily, is aimed "to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together."

    Of course, this social media platform was founded by its founding persons in 2004 for good intentions. In the case of Saracen Group, the Indonesian police are challenged to uncover it again for the sake of public truth and justice.

    ANTARA