Indonesia threatens to block Google and Meta if they do not agree to new regulations
Google, Meta, and other big tech firms are being urged by the Indonesian government to register under its new licensing rules, or risk their platforms being blocked.
Both Google and Meta are among several tech firms still yet to comply, despite the deadline being only days away on 20 July.
The licensing rules, released in November 2020, allow authorities to order platforms to remove content marked as unlawful, or that “disturbs public order” within 24 hours, or even four hours if deemed urgent enough.
Communications minister Johnny G. Plate told Reuters that he and his ministry urged companies to register before sanctions were applied and that platforms could face being blocked if they fail to comply.
More than 5,900 Indonesian companies and 108 international companies have registered, including social media app TikTok and music streaming platform Spotify, according to communications ministry data.
Platforms still yet to register include Google, Twitter, and Meta, which consists of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
The new licensing rules apply to all domestic and foreign Electronic Service Operators.
The rules will also allow law enforcement or government agencies to request communications and personal data from specific users on the platforms.
The Indonesian government says that the new licensing system was created to ensure internet service providers protect consumer data, and that online content is used in a “positive and productive” way.
However, activists have argued that the new rules will pose a threat to freedom of expression and privacy.
“Our analysis shows that this will be the most repressive regulation of its kind in the region,” said Nenden Arum, from digital rights group, the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet).
Minister Plate said the registration requirement was administrative and not about content.
With a population of 270 million, there were an estimated 191 million social media users in Indonesia as of February 2022, according to Statista.
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