A Brief Look Into Indonesia’s Hidden Pandemic on Whatsapp: Fake News & Misinformation

If you’re in a family Whatsapp group chat, there’s a big chance that you’ve come across some of the weirdest and wackiest pieces of content to have ever been made. In other words, fake news (or to keep it simple, hoax). The word “hoax” itself is so ingrained within Indonesian social media that it’s pretty much become a buzzword that’s commented on any given post that presents some sort of statistic or claim. At the height of the pandemic and in the midst of self-quarantine, I asked my friends to send me some of the most absurd fake news messages they got in regards to COVID-19. I wanted to know more about what the World Health Organisation describes as an ongoing fight against an “infodemic” of fake news and misinformation. So here’s my brief look into the weird and dangerous world of misinformation during the pandemic.