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Gen Z Must Think Critically to Prevent Hoaxes Ahead of the 2024 Election

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By: Silvia A. Pamungkas )*

As the 2024 election approaches, the phenomena of hoaxes, misinformation, identity issues, sentiments towards SARA, as well as hate speech are increasingly emerging on social media and are often a serious concern. ICT Watch, an institution that focuses on digital literacy education, recognizes that Generation Z (Gen Z: Born 1997-2012), most of whom are first  -time voters , have a significant role in spreading and refuting hoax information. The strong trend towards social media makes Gen Z more susceptible to false information.

In this digital era, Gen Z has great potential to contribute to creating a 2024 election that is free from hoaxes, to determine Indonesia’s future leaders. With their technological awareness and knowledge, Gen Z can help minimize the negative impact of hoaxes and ensure that the information they receive and share is accurate and useful in the election.

ICT Watch Program Manager  , Defira said that Gen Z should not be provoked by fake news or misinformation on social media. The most important thing is how to ensure that Gen Z always thinks critically, is not easily provoked, gets emotional, and does not easily believe any information received from the internet.

            Apart from that, Defira also explained the ABC method which can be used when obtaining information that is indicated as a hoax on the internet. A is for Observe. When receiving information on the internet, Gen Z needs to observe the content because if they don’t observe it carefully, Gen Z might not find anything odd and just share the information without knowing that the information is a hoax. So, it is important to first observe the contents of the content, it is possible that the images in the information are old photos, which certain individuals reuse to create other content that leads to negative things.

Next, B is for Read. When receiving information, Gen Z must read it to the end. One of the characteristics of hoaxes is writing errors. By reading to the end and not just the title, Gen Z can find writing errors in the information. Many hoaxes that are spread have   a high number of typos . This is very different from journalist writing, where there is a long process until the writing can be disseminated widely. 

The last one is C for Careful and Check the Source. If you receive suspicious information, Gen Z should not immediately believe it. Check the source, if it is not valid, verify it on the web page or social media of the institution whose name is included in the information. 

Apart from that, the Indonesian General Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) considers the role of the younger generation to be very important in preventing hoaxes related to the 2024 Election. That is why Bawaslu invites the younger generation, especially Gen Z, to improve their digital literacy skills. Bawaslu member, Herwyn JH Malonda, said that Bawaslu continues to embrace the younger generation to improve digital literacy skills which can separate accurate news from facts and what is hoax news. Bawaslu also collaborates with many parties, including  Gen Z influencers  , to convey important messages about the dangers of hoaxes in elections.

Hewyn also said he had collaborated with  digital platforms  to combat the spread of hoaxes or false information. Bawaslu is currently coordinating with the Ministry of Education or the Education Office to include education related to digital literacy and anti-hoaxes in the curriculum. Herwyn revealed that Gen Z could be an effective anti-hoax agent to fight hoaxes. Gen Z must be a strong young generation, mature in disseminating information, broad-minded and critical in receiving information. 

From an internal perspective, Herwyn is trying to improve the quality of participatory supervision cadres, especially those from Gen Z through training. Through this training, cadres will gain the knowledge and skills to become effective anti-hoax agents. Bawaslu also has the authority to (propose)  taking down  verified accounts that are spreading slander, hate speech or hoaxes. This includes taking action against the perpetrators if they can be verified.

Based on the final voter list (DPT) that has been determined by the Indonesian General Election Commission (KPU), the number of young generation voters reached around 56 percent. Therefore, Gen Z is expected to be able to help the KPU in the process of implementing the upcoming 2024 elections, by having the same perception and perspective that elections are a means of national integration, a means of uniting, not dividing, unity.

For this reason, considering that 2024 is coming soon, it is important to remind Gen Z again to increase their insight into the world of politics. Because if generation Z understands matters related to elections, it will certainly be a good record for the implementation of the 2024 elections in determining the ideal leader in the future. 

)* The author is from the editorial team of Saptalika Jr. Media

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