Social Media not Enough to Reform

Social media can be manipulated by politicians to get the youth vote in spite of a history of corruption, as in Indonesia. Turned off by political parties, young people turn to social media for information. In the 2014 presidential elections, Joko Widodo, called Jokowi, won. His campaign included a YouTube music video take off of a One Dimension British boy band song that went viral. In a close race, the other candidate called Prabowo was portrayed as the hero of a video game depicting him as “The Asian Tiger.” He lost by only 6% despite his poor record of human rights abuses. Candidates used social media for “black campaigns” to spread false news about the opponent and both candidates used volunteer tech-savvy university students to manage their social media outreach on Facebook, Twitter, Path and other platforms. However, Jokowi didn’t include youth in his administration indicating that social media activity is not enough to create social change.

Diatyka Widya Permata Yasih and Andi Rahman Alamsyah, “The Paradox of Virtual Youth Politics,” Inside Indonesia, Vol. 118, October 2014.


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