Meet Indonesia’s new weapon in its battle against West Papuan independence.
Jasmine Eloise is an “Australian reporter” who tweets her full-blooded support for Jakarta’s rule over the troubled province.
But Jasmine isn’t a journalist. She’s not even human. Jasmine is a machine-generated image, a synthetic warrior in a new kind of cyber warfare that threatens our relationship with our powerful northern neighbour.
An investigation by The Weekend Australian has confirmed the Indonesian government is behind a secret “black ops” disinformation campaign to influence Australian and international opinion against West Papua’s independence movement and to attack human rights activists in Australia.
The well-funded operation uses multiple fake accounts on social media and employs computer-generated “deepfake” profile images to avoid detection.
The covert campaign targets opponents of Indonesian rule in West Papua, such as prominent Australian barrister Jennifer Robinson, who also represents Julian Assange. It smears her as “slutty” after falsely accusing her of being involved in a sex scandal.
Indonesia’s troll factory has been quietly operating from behind a locked steel gate in a neat, two-storey villa on a tree-lined street in an upmarket part of South Jakarta, The Weekend Australian can reveal.
The building’s tenant, an Indonesian media and marketing company called InsightID, has spent $US300,000 on advertisements on social media, driving more than 500,000 Facebook and Instagram users towards fake news sites peddling false information about West Papua and lashing out at critics.
The Weekend Australian has established that InsightID was commissioned and paid for its services by the Indonesian government.
Read it all. How public opinion is shaped these days. Even the Indonesians are doing it.