The use of buzzers as political instruments is not new. As stated by Samantha Bradshaw and Philip N. Howard in their research entitled The Global Disinformation Order 2019 Global Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation, the phenomenon of manipulation through organized social media has even been massive in 70 countries that are often used to carry out political propaganda .
Buzzer is actually a common instrument, for example in the world of marketing. However, in its use as a political instrument, the buzzer is transformed 180 degrees. Its role is no longer just for the sake of promotion, but rather a strategy to scoop opinions or discredit and bring down political opponents – in short the buzzer becomes a capable black campaign tool to be used.
According to Rinaldi Camil, researchers from the Center for Innovation Policy and Governance (CIPG) asserted that buzzers for practical political interests were used as a means of black campaigns to bring down political opponents.
Interestingly, the buzzer is not only used for campaign purposes for politicians or political parties. However, the government also uses buzzers as instruments that can reduce or even reverse criticism.
Buzzer Jokowi has recently been criticized for being too militant in defending the government.
Both the House of Representatives and the Jokowi Government have recently been criticized by the public for the large number of problematic bills that have invited a series of large-scale demonstrations in the capital and other cities throughout Indonesia.
But still, Jokowi’s loyalist buzzers are blind and indiscriminate in defending his lord. They continue to carry out offensive against opposition groups with various vulgar utterances.
News such as ambulances lift rocks, WA group children STM and student demonstrations ridden by actors become news in the media. But after tracing, it turns out that all hoaks are spread by political buzzers.
Now the existence of a wild “Palace Buzzer” actually drops the prestige of the government even deeper. Presidential staff also stated it was difficult to bring order to the buzzer because there was no clear command structure.
The existence of the buzzer at this time was considered to have been very troubling. The Tempo media assess, the buzzer supporting Jokowi is considered to endanger democracy. Because the buzzers are part of a short-term political interest: securing government policy.
Rinaldi Camil said that the use of buzzers for political purposes began to be used in 2009. In its development, buzzers are used to fight black campaigns and enhance the positive image of candidates so that they influence potential electability.
CIPG research in 2017 shows the buzzer term for politics is gaining in popularity in the 2012 DKI Regional Election. Then broadly for political interests it occurs in the 2014 presidential election and finally in every election.
Rinaldi explained, buzzers have the ability to amplify messages by drawing attention or building conversation. Buzzers usually have wide networks, for example have access to key information, are able to create content according to context, are capable of using social media, are persuasive, and are driven by certain motives (paid and voluntary).
In the study of Oxford University which is widely discussed, it was revealed that Indonesia is a country that uses social media for political propaganda, disinformation, and efforts to reduce the level of trust in the media and democratic institutions.
From an Oxford study, 87 percent of countries use human accounts, 80 percent of bot accounts, 11 percent of cyborg accounts, and 7 percent use hacked accounts. In general, Indonesian cyber troops use bot and human-managed accounts, with the aim of spreading pro-government or political party propaganda, attacking campaigns, diverting important issues, dividing and polarizing, and suppressing opposing parties.
Indonesia itself, in general, uses a low-capacity team (Low Cyber Troop Capacity), which means involving a number of small teams that are active during a particular election or agenda.
Meanwhile, the former TNI Commander who now serves as the Chief of Staff of the President, Moeldoko, denied that there was a buzzer network led by the “elder brother” from government elements, such as rumors circulating in the social media. Previously there were rumors circulating that the social media influencers who built the government’s image were coordinated directly by KSP.
Moeldoko said, instead of commanding the pro-government buzzer, the President’s Office of Staff repeatedly called for no more buzzer work. “Absolutely not, in fact we KSP appealed to ‘we don’t do that anymore’. Several times I’ve said, right,” said Moeldoko.
He also dismissed the news that he was the figure of “Guidance Brother”. “Which one again? I’ve never read that [term],” he added.
The terms “Guidance Brother” and “Palace Buzzer” surfaced on social media after the Facebook account Seword.com, an online media known by pro Jokowi since 2014, uploaded status on 1 and 2 May 2019. The two statuses mention the existence of social media teams support Jokowi’s winning campaign in the presidential election. The team received directions from “Guidance Brother”, which was referred to by another nickname, “Nick Fury”, and the full composition was only known by the Guidance Brother and President Jokowi.
If Jokowi’s buzzer phenomenon is an act of voluntary support from his supporters, now it is no different from a narrow fanaticism that actually raises public antipathy towards Jokowi himself.
However, if it is known that the buzzer moves on “orders” in order to herd public opinion and counter narrative on dissatisfaction with government performance. Certainly it will greatly jeopardize democracy and give the impression that Jokowi’s government is anti-criticism.
In the end, the presence of Jokowi’s buzzer that continues to grow and seemed to never stop guarding and escorting Jokowi from criticisms that are actually positive, will make the public aware that the Government is building a thick wall with buzzers as warriors who always draw swords.
It is time for the government to seriously control Jokowi’s buzzer because the public is getting fed up with his presence which is increasingly polarizing Indonesian people in general, especially on social media.