JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia has blocked search engine website Yahoo, payments firm Paypal and several gaming websites due to failure to comply with licensing rules, an official said on Saturday, sparking a backlash on social media.
Registration is required under rules released in late November 2020 and will give authorities broad powers to compel platforms to disclose data of certain users, and take down content deemed unlawful or that “disturbs public order” within four hours if urgent and 24 hours if not.
Several tech companies had rushed to register in days leading to the deadline, which had been extended until Friday, including Alphabet Inc’s, Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and Amazon.com Inc.
Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, a senior official at Indonesia’s Communications Ministry, said in a text message websites that have been blocked include Yahoo, Paypal and gaming sites like Steam, Dota2, Counter-Strike and EpicGames, among others.
Paypal, Yahoo’s parent private equity firm Apollo Global Management and US game developer Valve Corporation, which runs Steam, Dota and Counter-Strike, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. EpicGames could not be reached for comment.
Hashtags like “BlokirKominfo” (block Communication Ministry), Epic Games and Paypal trended on Indonesian Twitter, with many writing messages criticising the government’s move as hurting Indonesia’s online gaming industry and freelance workers who use Paypal.
Pangerapan did not respond to a request for comment.
With an estimated 191 million internet users and a young, social-media savvy population, the Southeast Asian nation is a significant market for a host of tech platforms.
As of Monday, more than 5,900 domestic companies and 108 foreign companies had registered, including short-video app TikTok and music streaming firm Spotify, according to communications ministry data.
The government says the new rules have been formulated to ensure internet service providers protect consumer data, and that online content is used in a “positive and productive” way.
(Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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