Indonesian netizens complain about Youtube’s restricted mode being forced on them in latest gov’t censorship push

Photo: Twitter/@vngnc
Photo: Twitter/@vngnc

This week, the Indonesian government intensified their efforts to censor “negative” content on the internet by forcing ISPs (internet service providers) to enable content filters on search engines by default, which can’t be switched off. The new policy has seemingly been extended to Youtube as well, with many netizens now complaining that the video streaming site’s restricted mode feature has been irreversibly switched on, limiting what they can watch.

Based on numerous social media posts, the Youtube restriction applies to users of certain ISPs, both on mobile internet and home internet. If your ISP has done so, then the settings menu on your Youtube account should show “restricted mode” switched on by the network administrator while the feature is greyed out so you can’t switch it off.

Youtube already had strict regulations against overtly pornographic content, so the site’s restricted mode seems to be especially overzealous, with netizens reporting that even Taylor Swift and K-Pop music videos are being filtered out.

While the government did not say anything about Youtube being included in their recent censorship push, some ISPs like Indosat Ooredoo have been replying to complaints from customers about the Youtube restriction, placing the blame on the government.

Hi, Youtube’s restricted mode is a government regulation designed to prevent the public from accessing pornography.

Telkomsel, whose customers have also complained about their Youtube being restricted, say that they can still switch it off by clearing the Youtube cache on their device and then logging in to the video streaming site/app.

If you’re among those whose enjoyment of Taylor Swift on Youtube is being limited, we can safely say, for now, previously tried-and-tested workarounds to the government’s internet censorship still apply.

If there’s one battle that’s impossible to win, it’s the battle to block every single instance of internet porn. But that is the battle the Indonesian government has been engaged in ever since internet pornography was officially made illegal in 2008. Since then, many major pornographic websites have been blocked while sites like Reddit and Tumblr, which contain a small portion of pornography, have also become unnecessary casualties.

This year, the government launched a US$14 million automatic porn censorship system that they say will be able to block 30 million websites containing negative content, which also include gambling, extremism and sexual education. The tech was seen by many as a waste of money as there always have been, and, theoretically, there always will be, workarounds to any internet censorship.

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on