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Faking The News | Final Assignment Questionnaire


Your name / major / year:

Mohammad Hafiyyandi (Hafi) / ITP / Year 1

Project working title:

The First Indonesian Multi-Millionaire in China

Tweet-length project description:

An experiment examining how majority Moslem-Indonesians project their hopes & insecurities toward their own ethnic group and the Chinese-Indonesian ethnic.

Paragraph-length project description:

The experiment starts with disseminating a fake feel-good story about “the first Indonesian Multi-Millionaire in China” on Facebook, Whatsapp, and LINE. There are 2 versions of the story linked from the FB post / chain message, in which the ethnicity of the person-of-interest differs: one version Chinese-Indonesian, the other Moslem-Indonesian. The experiment examines reaction of Moslem-Indonesians (segmented according location, demographic, and psychographic) towards success story of a Chinese-Indonesian & Moslem-Indonesian. There are 2 measures: page impression & engagements (quantitative), and sentiments in the comments (qualitative).

The experiment also explores how platforms like Facebook & peer-to-peer messaging apps are used to distribute news and reinforce ethnic identities.



What basic reality does your project reflect?

Moslem-Indonesians get easily triggered by news and stories relating to their dominance in the cultural & economic sphere, especially when China / Chinese-Indonesians are involved.

There was an exodus of Chinese-Indonesian in around 1959 & 1965 due to political instability and violent actions towards the ethnic group.

What basic reality does your project mask or pervert?

That China produces millionaire at the fastest rate in the world.

Does your project mask the absence of a basic reality?

That there is no “first Indonesian multi-millionaire in China”.

Does your project bear relation to any reality whatsoever?

I am going to take cues from news stories of Li Ka Shing, a real billionaire in Hong Kong (he fled mainland China and became a property magnate in Hong Kong).



Tools used, with justification

02 x Fake News Site

Landing page of the story. This is where visitor will get directed to the different version of the story. Uses Wordpress (build), PHP (basic redirecting logic), Google Analytics (impression tracking).

Domain & look of the site should mimic (1) mainstream news site, and (2) right-wing conservative news site.

Facebook Post / Album

Indonesians love to share albums or statuses about personal anecdotes / feel good personal stories. Uses Photoshop to create fake photos of the story’s protagonist in various settings (e.g. meeting Jack Ma, in TV show). Link to fake news site.

Facebook Ads

Hyper-targeting via Facebook Ad platform, segmentation according to location, psychographic, and demographic as groups-of-interest.

Facebook 60s Video

Short videos perform well with Indonesian audience. Uses Photoshop & After Effects. Link to fake news site in the caption.

WhatsApp / LINE

Anecdotal message with short-form-link (e.g. to the fake news site

Data collection and measurement (if appropriate)

  • Page views of news site

  • Comments & shares on news site

  • Comments & shares on Facebook post

  • Comments & shares on Facebook video

  • Click throughs from short link on messenger platforms.

  • Quick sentiment analysis on comment section.

Ethical risks and mitigation


Appropriating stories of a real person, disseminating fake stories, experimenting on sensitive issues that involve real communities.


Disclaimer on the landing site.

Legal risks and mitigation

Indonesia has just started policing hoaxes (it’s in the law), but active policing is only on high-stake, inflammatory political hoaxes.


Don’t touch politics in the story at all. Should not seed the story into other publisher page.



Why are you interested/excited/compelled to pursue this project?

Religiously & politically motivated protests and violent raids are prevalent in Indonesia. I am interested in examining how ethnicity plays important role in the dynamics as well. My hypothesis is that race and ethnicity are, in some cases, more important and triggering than religious identities.



Initial ideation

Project questionnaire

Project URL (direct/source/other)

To be updated


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