Facebook, Instagram and Netflix appear to be spared Indonesian ban after complying with local regulations

As reported yesterday, all technology platforms must register as an Electronic Systems Provider (ESP) in Indonesia by July 20 or risk being blocked in the country. In less than 48 hours before the deadline, it looks like more international tech companies have registered today, including Meta, Instagram, Netflix, and Discord.

According to Indonesia’s PES database, Instagram and Facebook are already registered, but there is still no sign of WhatsApp, which is one of the biggest instant messaging apps in the country. Meanwhile, Twitter and Google have yet to register in the database.

The requirement for digital platforms to register with the Indonesian authority was introduced as part of a regulation published in November 2020 to allow authorities to order the removal of content deemed illegal or considered a threat to public order. Registered platforms must comply with withdrawal requests within 24 hours or within 4 hours if it is an urgent request.

It is also reported that Indonesia can compel tech companies to reveal communications and personal data of specific users upon request from government agencies or law enforcement agencies. Unregistered apps and platforms will be blocked from July 21.

At present, 127 foreign platforms and 6,661 local platforms are registered on the list of Indonesian Electronic System Providers (EPS). Other notable registered entities include Tiktok, Spotify, Telegram, Disney+ Hotstar, Microsoft, Amazon, Shopee, Lazada, Grab and Gojek.

And Malaysia?

If a company like Meta can comply with Indonesian regulators, it’s time for Malaysia to take similar steps to control big tech. International platforms hosted overseas such as Facebook and Twitter appear to fall outside the purview of our current legal framework as Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa has stated that the Malaysian Communications Commission and Multimedia (MCMC) does not have the authority to remove content from these platforms. As a result, there has been an increase in misleading and fraudulent ads on Facebook that have been approved without performing basic checks. Even a misleading ad featuring Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin took days on Facebook to be removed after being flagged by the Health Ministry.

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