Indonesia ups purge of obscene online content


The country has also stated that it would summon representatives of search engines and messaging services, including Google, for the goal of removing obscene content from their platforms.

This announcement comes a day after the country's warning that it would shutdown WhatsApp Messenger.

WhatsApp, which is widely used in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, had earlier said that message encryption prevented it from monitoring the third-party providers Indonesians use to search for GIFs.

The ministry vowed on Monday to block WhatsApp within 48 hours if the service did not ensure that obscene graphics interchange format (GIF) images were removed.

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Semuel Pangerapan outlined that WhatsApp needs to follow the rules of the host.

Tenor, a third-party provider of GIFs to WhatsApp, had been blocked, Mr Pangerapan said. It added that it has suggested to the government to co-ordinate with providers who let users enter keywords to look for GIFcoordinatepp. However, WhatsApp users on iPhone could not access Tenor GIFs till date. Tenor "regularly" worked with "local entities to make sure its content reflects the cultural mores and legal requirements", a spokesman said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Giphy Inc did not issue any comment regarding the matter.

GIF content is one of a few new features on WhatsApp. Gboard is a keyboard app developed by Google that provides GIF search results.

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Indonesia had 69 million monthly active Facebook users as of the first quarter of 2014, ranking the country fourth globally after the United States, India and Brazil, company data showed. Whatsapp is owned by social media giant Facebook and is quite popular in Indonesia. "Therefore, the Communication and Information Ministry can, together with the police, carry out investigation regarding suspected pornographic content on the application WhatsApp", he said.

Giphy's official website was also in the danger of being blocked for displaying gambling advertisements.

However, access was quickly reestablished after the company agreed to cooperate with regulators. After the website reached a settlement with the government, the ban was abandoned. The telecommunication ministry of Indonesia stated that it would block WhatsApp messenger on November 6, 2017.

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