Indonesia has threatened to ban WhatsApp Messenger due to its lack of censor in spreading obscene content. The country has also stated that it would summon representatives of search engines and messaging services, including Google, for the purpose of removing obscene content from their platforms.
On Monday, the Indonesian Communications and Informatics Ministry stated in a news conference that it would block Facebook Inc's WhatsApp Messenger within two days if the obscene GIFs in its system are not removed. It added that the messaging platform has already been sent three notices previously.
Semuel Pangerapan, the director general of said ministry, stated that the messaging platform, which is used by ministers and bureaucrats, has to follow the rules of the country. He also added they will ask all other providers to "clean up their network."
However, WhatsApp stated that its message encryption protocol does not let it monitor content that is sent around by third-party users. It added that it has suggested to the government to co-ordinate with providers who let users enter keywords to look for GIFcoordinatepp.
The Ministry's website aid on Tuesday that internet companies have been asked to block domain names from Tenor, a GIF provider in WhatsApp. Users were unable to access GIFs from Tenor on that day. Tenor Inc, on the other hand, stated that a fix for these issues has already been implemented, reports ABC News.
In a country that already has censored the internet, this is one more step towards conservatism. Previously, web versions of the messaging service Telegram were banned for including chat groups for Islamic State supporters. The ban was lifted in August.
Giphy's official website was also in the danger of being blocked for displaying gambling advertisements. After the website reached a settlement with the government, the ban was abandoned. Other social media sites like Tumblr and Vimeo also became victims of the strict censorship in the country.