Indonesian netizens push back against trending hashtag #NetflixTidakAman (Netflix is not safe)

Photo: freestocks.org via Unsplash
Photo: freestocks.org via Unsplash

An online campaign aiming to sway public opinion against Netflix in Indonesia has not yielded its desired outcome, as netizens in the country defended the streaming giant in numbers against attempts at justifying its partial censorship.

Netflix, though available to a large number of Indonesians who are connected to the internet via private companies, is still unavailable to millions of customers of Indonesia’s state-owned telecommunications firms. Though the block has often been justified on censorship grounds, many have suspected that state-owned internet providers were only trying to protect their own business interests in affiliated streaming platforms.

Yesterday, there was another attempt at pushing the censorship narrative in the form of the trending hashtag #NetflixTidakAman (Netflix is not safe). Initially, the hashtag contained tweets of people agreeing that Netflix does not sufficiently regulate or censor adult content on its platform in accordance with Indonesian standards.

However, it was quite evident that many of the tweets were duplicates posted by bots, as Coconuts found when we searched for a certain oft-recurring sentence:

Duplicates of tweet criticizing Netflix in Indonesia. Screengrab taken on Jan. 14, 2020.
Duplicates of tweet criticizing Netflix in Indonesia. Screengrab taken on Jan. 14, 2020.

Soon after, the hashtag became inundated with tweets from netizens defending Netflix and condemning attempts at justifying over-the-top censorship.

In a Twitter thread, Ismail Fahmi, a social media analyst, said he found that #NetflixTidakAman was initiated by Twitter accounts which used the hashtag while promoting product giveaways. It was then boosted with shares by influencers and one local news outlet. However, Ismail was not able to determine who was behind the campaign, though he did present clues that the government may have been behind the hashtag to pressure Netflix into paying taxes in Indonesia (which it currently doesn’t).

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