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Strengthening Digital Literacy as an Effort to Prevent Radicalism on Social Media

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Social media has become an integral part of our modern life. Every day, millions of people spend their time on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on. However, behind this inevitable interconnectedness, major challenges emerge, especially related to the spread of radicalism and misinformation.

Increasing digital awareness and literacy is key in fighting radicalism on social media. When people have a good understanding of how to sort valid information from what is not, and understand the consequences of spreading false information or unverified news, they will be better protected from the spread of potentially damaging radical ideas.

One important aspect of digital literacy is the ability to recognize and understand information sources. With the growing phenomenon of “hoaxes” and fake news on social media, the public must be equipped with the skills to verify the truth of information before spreading it further.

The Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo) together with Commission I DPR-RI have taken proactive steps in dealing with this problem. They continue to encourage programs to increase digital awareness and literacy to increase public understanding and insight into the importance of responsible use of social media.

Kominfo together with Commission I DPR-RI appealed to the Indonesian people to be wiser and more careful in using social media (medsos). This was emphasized in a digital literacy event with the theme “Countering Radicalism in Digital Media” which took place in Banda Aceh on January 23 2024.

Deputy Chairman of Commission I DPR-RI, H. Teuku Riefky Harsya, stated that social media is like two sides of a coin. On the one hand, social media is useful for broadening horizons, increasing creativity and strengthening relationships. On the other hand, social media can become a medium for spreading hoaxes, hate speech and radicalism, which can result in violations of the ITE Law.

Therefore, the public needs to understand the legal regulations regarding the use of social media, such as the ITE Law. Riefky reminded people to be careful and wise in using social media, and not to be easily provoked by negative content.

Quality people with high digital literacy are one of the keys to successful digital transformation in this country. A reliable, capable and wise generation will be the spearhead in making Indonesia and Aceh able to compete on the global stage.

The Director General of Aptics at the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information, Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, added that the latest technological developments have changed people’s way of life. This encourages the Ministry of Communication and Information to increase public awareness, knowledge and digital skills through various digital application programs.

Not only that, it is also important to help people understand how radicalism can develop on social media. By understanding the patterns used by radical groups to recruit new members or spread their propaganda, society will become more alert to these efforts and better able to resist them.

Radical groups have long used a variety of strategies to recruit new members and spread their propaganda. With the development of technology and social media, the patterns used by these groups are increasingly developing and expanding.

Radical groups utilize social media and technology to spread their messages to a wider audience. They use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Telegram to promote their ideology, recruit new members, and expand their network. The use of technology also allows these groups to communicate with potential members anonymously, which makes the recruitment process easier without being detected.

Furthermore, radical groups often misuse religion or ideology to justify their actions and gain support. They interpret religious or ideological texts selectively to support their own agendas, often omitting important historical or cultural context. By doing this, they try to convince new members that their radical actions are part of a “holy struggle” dictated by their religion or ideology.

Apart from efforts from the government and legislative institutions such as Commission I DPR-RI, education also plays an important role in increasing society’s digital literacy. Schools and other educational institutions should include lessons on responsible use of social media into their curricula. This will help create a generation that is smarter and more skilled in using information technology wisely.

Preventing radicalism on social media is not an easy task, but with joint efforts from various parties, including the government, legislative bodies, and educational institutions, as well as full support from society itself, we can build a safer and more civilized digital environment.

Digital literacy is an important effort to create an Indonesian society that is ready to face digital opportunities and culture in 2024. Initiatives encouraged by the government to prevent the development of radicalism are expected to help improve society’s early prevention capabilities.

With better awareness and appropriate preventive measures, we can protect ourselves and those around us from the influence of radical ideologies that are widely spread in cyberspace. Let’s work together to maintain the realm of social media as a positive forum for sharing information and strengthening social networks, not as a means to spread hatred and radicalism.

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