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We will consider blocking Facebook if they don't regulate content: Minister

Jakarta Globe - June 6, 2017

Jakarta Minister of Communications and Information Technology Rudiantara said that his ministry would consider blocking popular social media providers such as Facebook if they do not work with the ministry to regulate certain content that the ministry deems negative.

The minister said that the rise of negative content on social media has perpetuated hostility and caused a divide among Indonesians. He added that Facebook would not be the only social media provider that he would consider blocking, but the sanction could also to applied on other social media providers that do not comply with the ministry's wishes to regulate their content.

"I would not only limit the access of the accounts, but I also could block the social media service providers. We would like to ask popular social media service providers to partner with us to provide better services. In fact, Facebook recently blocked Afi's account, which was supposed to be blocked," Rudiantara said in Jakarta on Monday (05/06).

Rudiantara was referring to Afi Nihaya Faradisa, whose essays have continued to attract many readers on various social media platforms. Afi wrote about the role of national and religious identity in her latest post, "Warisan," ("Legacy") on her Facebook account.

However, this was the only specific example Rudiantara had given as to what he meant by "negative content."

Rudiantara said that he will ask the director general of applied information technology at the ministry, Samuel Pangerapan, to visit Facebook's Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore on Wednesday to discuss ways to address the issue.

"Actually, it is not our goal to block social media service providers. We are aware that social media has many positive [attributes and can have a positive impact]. We would just like cooperation [from social media operators] in addressing negative content for the sake of preserving the nation's unity," the minister said.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) recently issued a fatwa regarding the law and guidance of behaviour on social media.

Chairman of the MUI, Ma'ruf Amin said that the fatwa was issued to address their concerns regarding the content on social media that include hate speech, fake news, pornography and content that spread hostility.

"This fatwa was established due to address our concerns on the rise of negative social media content. With this fatwa, we hope that people would be wiser in using social media," Ma'ruf said in Jakarta on Monday.

He added that the issuance of the fatwa is not meant to prohibit people from using social media, but only to serve as a guideline on how to use social media.

"Freedom on social media is now overrun, so it should be controlled, [people need to be] re-educated and [social media should be] reorganized, we want the public to straighten out their way of thinking, speaking and acting," Ma'ruf said.

"The fatwa said that every Muslim who interacts on social media should seek to increase their faith and piety, not to encourage kafir [disbelievers] and disobedience, strengthen brotherhood and strengthen harmony," Ma'ruf explained.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/we-will-consider-blocking-facebook-if-they-dont-regulate-content-minister/.

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