Once more, Indonesia’s IT Ministry threatens bans for Instagram, Netflix, Google and more

Instagram icon on a phone. Photo: Luke Van Zyl/unsplash
Instagram icon on a phone. Photo: Luke Van Zyl/unsplash

Pepperidge Farm and those who closely follow Indonesian tech news may remember the Information and Communications Ministry’s numerous empty threats to ban major online platforms over administrative issues over the years. Well, the ministry has gone and done it again.

On November 24, 2020, the ministry issued a regulation requiring digital services to register as Electronic System Providers (PSE), for the purposes of cyber security and user protection, within six months. Those who fail to do so may be banned in Indonesia.

But the threat has proven to be a bluff so far, as local and international tech companies that have missed the registration deadline, despite several extensions, have not even gotten a slap on the wrist.

Nonetheless, the ministry this week issued a new deadline, July 20, sounding out the same threat to the likes of Instagram, Netflix, Google, YouTube, WhatsApp, Telegram and Twitter, who have yet to register. 

To date, the ministry said 4,472 domestic companies and 68 international companies have registered as PSEs in Indonesia, including TikTok and Spotify.

The ministry has been known to ban apps and platforms on legal and/or moral grounds in recent years. These include gay dating app Blued, which was banned for its “immoral” LGBT content, TikTok for its general “negative content,” and Telegram for allegedly facilitating the spread of radical content, though the bans for the latter two have since been lifted.

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