PayPal, Yahoo, gaming sites blocked for users in Indonesia

PHOTO: Indonesia bans PayPal, Yahoo, and gaming sites. (via Adobe)

Social media is erupting in Indonesia after the government blocked multiple gaming websites, PayPal, and Yahoo for failing to follow licensing rules in the country. The new regulations, enacted last November, allow authorities to force websites to share data of users and take down unlawful content that is said to disturb public order within 24 hours, or four hours for urgent content.

Amazon, as well as Alphabet and Meta Platforms – owners of Google and all related sites; and Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp respectively – all raced to comply with these new regulations after the deadline was extended until Friday. But many other large platforms did not. It’s a huge market to be blocked from, with a population of 270 million people, many of whom are young and active on social media – an estimated 191 million Indonesian are online.

Search engine portal Yahoo, still hanging on after being completely overshadowed by Google many years ago, as well as payment website PayPal, which is struggling with its compliance issues in Thailand as well, are the biggest sites to fail to comply with the new rules in Indonesia. Gaming sites including EpicGames, Steam, Counter-Strike, and Dota2 all did not properly respond to the new regulation, according to a text message from a senior official at the Communications Ministry in Indonesia.

Twitter in Indonesia was exploding with tweets critical of the government’s move to block such popular sites in the country, with EpicGames and PayPal trending, as well as hashtags like #BlokirKominfo which means “block the Communication Ministry.” Angry Internet users complain that the move damages freelance workers and others who receive and send money through PayPal as well as the online gaming industry.

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Government officials, however, insist that the move helps safeguard internet users in Indonesia, stating that they would reinstate access for any of these websites as soon as they followed the registration rules to protect Indonesian websurfers.

The Communication Ministry of Indonesia is also wrestling with how to handle people who were suddenly locked out of PayPal and unable to access their money, and they will consider some sort of solution like possibly unblocking the website for a short period to allow people to log in and withdraw their funds.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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