Indonesia will impose fines on Facebook and other social platforms due to negative content

Facebook and other social media platforms could be blocked if they don’t adhere to the law.

The Indonesian government will impose fines on Facebook and other social media apps in 2021, if the platforms do not block “negative” content such as pornography or extremist ideologies that are circulated via their apps.

According to Semmy Pangerapan, director general of informatics applications at the IT Ministry, the range of fines is being discussed within the ministry, and will be around IDR 100 million to IDR 500 million (USD 7,128 to USD 35,643) per content item. If the platforms don’t comply, the government will prevent access to these platforms.

This fine implementation is part of the revision of regulations concerning the Implementation of Electronic Systems and Transactions, which had been issued last October.

“Previously we used to crawl the content with our system, or received complaint from citizens. Then, we asked the platforms to block such content. With the new regulations, the platforms should notice and block it themselves, without our requests. We will monitor it. If we still find that ‘negative’ content still exists, we will impose fines on them,” Pangerapan told reporters during a press conference at the IT ministry on Monday.

The government will give a timeline of one year for the apps to learn the regulations and register their apps according to the provisions. If the apps do not register themselves, the government will block these websites or apps.

A Facebook Indonesia spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter.

Indonesia’s IT ministry has blocked more than one million sites, which were dominated by pornography sites, from January to June 2019. The world’s most populous Muslim-majority country stepped up efforts in 2018, by controlling online content through the utilization of a “crawling system”. This system searches internet content and issue alerts when inappropriate material is found.