The reason is companies missed the deadline to meet with the country’s new requirements.
The government of Indonesia has blocked access to a range of online services, including Steam(Gaming website), Epic Games(Gaming Website), PayPal(Online Payment firm), and Yahoo (Search Engine website) after the companies unsuccessful to comply with a licensing rules related to the country’s restrictive content moderation laws, as reported earlier by Reuters.
In accordance with the rules, The companies must register their organization with the government’s database to operate in the country otherwise Indonesian government will block the access. Indonesia gave companies until July 27th to comply and has since banned those that haven’t.
The requirement is part of an overarching law, called MR5, which was first introduced in 2020. As noted by Reuters, the laws give the Indonesian government the ability to obtain data about specific users, as well as coerce companies into removing content that “disturbs public order” or is considered illegal. Platforms have four hours to take action on “urgent” removal requests, or 24 hours in the case of any other content.
A 2021 report from the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) calls Indonesia’s laws “invasive of human rights,” as it puts platforms at the mercy of the Indonesian government, which will ban them if not in compliance with local laws. Earlier this month, the EFF penned a letter to the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information (Kominfo), urging the government to repeal its “invasive content moderation rules.”
Several technological companies had rushed to register in days leading up to the deadline, which had been extended until Friday, including Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O), Meta Platforms Inc’s (META.O) Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Apple, Microsoft, TikTok, Twitter, Netflix, and Spotify.
Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, a senior official at Indonesia’s Communications Ministry, said in a message websites that have been blocked include Yahoo, PayPal and gaming sites like Steam, Dota2, Counter-Strike and EpicGames, among others.
PayPal, Yahoo’s parent private equity firm Apollo Global Management and U.S. game developer Valve Corporation, which runs Steam, Dota and Counter-Strike, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. EpicGames could not be reached for comment.
Hashtags like “BlokirKominfo” (block Communication Ministry), Epic Games and PayPal trended on Indonesian Twitter, with many writing messages criticising the government’s move as hurting Indonesia’s online gaming industry and freelance workers who use PayPal.
Pangerapan said the government will find a solution for people to withdraw their deposits from PayPal, which may include reopening access to its website for a short period, he told Metro TV.
Authorities would unblock the websites if they comply with registration rules, he said, defending the measure as protection for Indonesian internet users.
With an estimated 191 million internet users and a young, social-media savvy population, the Southeast Asian nation is a significant market for a host of tech platforms.