Govt deploys artificial intelligence to combat internet hoaxes

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Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara said on Wednesday that the government would use an artificial intelligence tool to crack down on websites containing fake news.

The government hopes the sophisticated software will help it curb the spread of hoaxes and false information ahead of regional elections to be held simultaneously in 171 provinces, regencies and cities on June 27.

Rudiantara said the tool would “crawl” websites, and once it detected a site with targeted content, it would notify the Association of Indonesian Internet Providers (APJI) to demand a closure.

“The AI tool works [by searching websites] based on keywords,” Rudiantara said.

The government says the measure aims to prevent damage caused by unverified news and misleading information that may hamper the implementation of the regional elections. 

Elections conducted in 101 regions, including Jakarta, in February last year were marred with fake news spread on the internet, prompting the government to take extra precautions for this year’s elections, including by stepping up efforts to combat hoaxes.

Rudiantara said the tool would only track down websites, not social media and messaging app platforms. 

“With regard to [hoaxes found in] social media and messaging apps, we will ask the platforms to block [such content].”

Earlier this year, the Communications and Information Ministry launched a web crawler software also equipped with artificial intelligence. The ministry said the machine, reportedly purchased for Rp 194 billion (US$14.5 million), would be used to find and block porn websites only. (ebf)


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