Episode 21: Hooked on Hoaxes

In this episode, we dive straight into the deep and dark world of fake news & hoaxes. 2016 has been such a wake-up call in making us realize that the problem of fake news & hoaxes has really serious real world implications. From Donald Trump and #PizzaGate in the U.S., to President Jokowi’s battles with fake allegations of 10 million Chinese workers in Indonesia and, of course, Ahok’s battle against allegations of blasphemy due to an edited speech of his; suffice to say that no one individual nor one country is immune from this problem. We look into how Indonesia has taken on this issue of fake news & hoaxes quite seriously, with President Jokowi declaring a war against hoaxes and the government updating its cyber laws (UU ITE) and setting up cybersecurity divisions in the police force. We unpack what these cyber laws are and talk through the potential implications to our freedom of speech given their recent revisions and changes.

We also dig deeper into the financial incentives of fake news & hoaxes (including recognizing the cottage industry nature of its business) as well as the underlying psychological appeal of fake news, namely the concepts of confirmation bias and conjunction fallacy. We discuss the private sector alternatives to countering fake news, including the significant roles companies like Facebook have to fight this permanent problem. Finally, we urge our listeners to think before you click, and remember that if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not 🙂

Thanks for listening!

For those interested in learning more about the topic, we’ve provided links to resources as well as other recommended readings.
Indonesia to Set Up Agency to Combat Fake News — courtesy of ABS-CBN
Cleanse the Turbid Together — courtesy of Kompas
Where Memes Could Kill: Indonesia’s Worsening Problem of Fake News — courtesy of TIME
Perubahan Undang Undang ITE Mulai Berlaku Hari Ini (Nov. 28, 2016) — courtesy of NET News (In Indonesian)
Fact Checking Won’t Save Us From Fake News — why fake news & hoaxes are a permanent problem
Why do We Fall For Fake News — implicit bias and confirmation bias
The Conjunction Fallacy Explains Why Fake News Is Believable — courtesy of Slate
We Tracked Down a Fake-News Creator in the Suburbs. Here’s What We Learned — the story of Jestin Coler
The Business of Fake News — with these kinds of numbers, how can you say no?
Without These Ads, There Wouldn’t Be Any Money in Fake News — courtesy of LA Times