Audio-only social media app Clubhouse is on everyone’s lips these days. In Indonesia, however, the platform has come under threat from an administration that thinks it should be registered as an Electronic System Provider (PSE).
Dedy Permadi, a spokesperson for the Communications and Information Ministry, told multiple local media that the app has until May 24 to register its business in Indonesia. The requirement is set out in the Ministerial Regulation Number 5/2020, which asks digital providers to file their activity with the ministry before commencing operations in Indonesia.
The regulation covers a broad range of services, from e-commerce, to search engines, and social media networks. Firms that refuse to comply are slapped with administrative sanctions in the form of an access ban, content erasure, or account ban.
The Indonesian government has a long history of blocking incompliant platforms. TikTok and Tumblr were banned in 2018, deemed to be full of “inappropriate content.” Until today, the popular online forum Reddit is still inaccessible in the country for a similar reason.
Developed by Alpha Exploration Co. in April 2020, Clubhouse recently became popular among Indonesian internet users, most likely due to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s appearance. Afterwards, several local celebrities such as film director Joko Anwar and comedian Ernest Prakasa joined the app to launch their own rooms, which increased the enthusiasm.
As Clubhouse is an invite-only service, many users sold their invitations on marketplaces at prices that reportedly reached IDR 500,000 (USD 39). E-commerce platforms such as Tokopedia and Shopee are apparently taking down these listings. However, many are still be offered on social media, namely Twitter and Facebook.