| It doesn't stop|
at the water's edge
Buzzer (often stylized as BuzzerRp, "Rp" indicates rupiah, the Indonesian currency) is a term used in Indonesia, designates a paid shill. While the term is popularly used to discredit political opponents, there are actual online presence of people hired by certain politicians or political parties and dedicate online activism for propaganda and fake news operations. Buzzers are most prominently used by the right-wing segment of the political spectrum, namely secular-nationalists (pro-government), nativists, Suharto-nostalgists and Islamists (pro-opposition).
Popular platforms employed by buzzers include Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Buzzers come in all flavors; team members, lone wolf, cyber experts, bots, anonymous accounts, or even a celebrity who gets invited into the presidential palace. In one instance, buzzers were offered by a political party $500 for a single post.
The usage of buzzers become widespread after the 2014 presidential election when two different populist politicians, Joko Widodo (secular-nationalist who looks a lot like a particular somebody) battled against Prabowo Subianto (nativist, backed by Islamists). The abuse of buzzers has become a serious social problem in Indonesia since then, as they are a detriment to democracy due to their efforts to turn any issues into partisan politics, hindering evidence-based discussions. Most recently, Indonesia has become paralyzed against the COVID-19 pandemic due to the politicization of literally every single health policy. A similar phenomenon can be observed in other Southeast Asian countries.
Some known buzzers
- Denny Siregar: A pro-Widodo-government buzzer with minor-celebrity status, who owns Twitter and Facebook accounts with each more than 700,000 followers. He constantly plays down the danger of COVID-19, and once called people who alarmed the COVID-19 pandemic as "animals."
- Eko Kuntadhi: A pro-Widodo-government buzzer who often appears on a YouTube account with 600,000 subscribers. A vehement defender of the ruling government, he labels all leftist critics as SJW and opposition as Islamists.
- Muslim Cyber Army (MCA): An anonymous collective which operated a nationwide network of cyber-jihadists who spread hoax and propaganda against the ruling government and ethnic-Chinese people by labeling them communists. They owned more than 100 bots and semi-automated accounts, have links to the military, and even incited bounty-huntings. The group was busted in 2018, leading to the arrests of its members.
- Jonru Ginting: A pro-opposition blogger who spread hate speech during 2016 Islamist protest against the Christian-Chinese governor of Jakarta Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok). He was arrested in 2017.
You can safely assume anyone who seriously uses these terms is a partisan hack who has no intention of evidence-based political discussions.
- Cebong: Literally means "tadpoles." Derogatory term toward supporters of Joko Widodo, Ahok, or the ruling party Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP). Because apparently Widodo raises frogs in his presidential palace. Used by Prabowo-supporters, Suharto-nostalgists, and Islamists.
- Kadrun: Literally means the Middle Eastern "dabb lizard" (shorthand of kadal gurun). Derogatory term toward supporters of current Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan and Islamists. Because Islamists in Indonesia today often dress like Arabs for no reason, and Anies is an ethnic-Arab Indonesian. Used by mostly PDIP nationalists and Widodo-supporters.
- Kampret: Literally means "small bat." Derogatory term toward supporters of Prabowo Subianto (in 2019 election), Suharto-nostalgists, and Islamists. Kampret is a general derogatory term as well, and it entered buzzer glossary from the name of Prabowo's coalition in 2014, KMP. Used by mostly PDIP nationalists and Widodo-supporters.
- SJW: Same meaning and usage as in the West, "Social Justice Warriors." Derogatory term toward leftists in general. Used by all right-wing camps.
- Togog: The name of some evil figure in wayang traditional art. Derogatory term toward supporters of Joko Widodo, Ahok, or PDIP. Because Widodo is an ethnic-Javanese and wayang is a Javanese art. Used by mostly Anies-supporters, Suharto-nostalgists, and Islamists.
- In Indonesia, Facebook and Twitter are 'buzzer' battlegrounds as elections loom Reuters. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
- Politics of pandemics: How online 'buzzers' infect Indonesia's democracy, jeopardize its citizens The Jakarta Post. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
- Indonesia's 'buzzers' paid to spread propaganda as political elite wage war ahead of election ABC. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
- Beyond fake news: social media and market-driven political campaigns The Conversation. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
-  (In Indonesian)
- Muslim Cyber Army: a 'fake news' operation designed to derail Indonesia's leader The Guardian. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
- Police Finally Arrest Jonru Ginting after Investigation Tempo. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
- Of tadpoles and small bats: How name calling deepens Indonesia's great political divide The Jakarta Post. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
- The rise of 'kadrun' and 'Togog': Why political polarization in Indonesia is far from over The Jakarta Post. Retrieved May 22, 2020.