Indonesia to block WhatsApp over obscene GIFs

This article is more than 12 months old

JAKARTA: Indonesia yesterday vowed to block the WhatsApp messenger within 48 hours if the service did not ensure that obscene graphics interchange format (GIF) images were removed.

WhatsApp, which is widely used in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, said message encryption prevented it from monitoring the third-party providers Indonesians use to search for GIFs. It asked the government to work with the providers instead.

Mr Semuel Pangerapan, a director general at Indonesia's Communication and Informatics Ministry, said WhatsApp would be blocked within 48 hours unless the images supplied by third parties were taken off the service.

The ministry had sent three letters to WhatsApp over the issue, he said.

"They have... asked us to speak directly to the third party. The GIFs appeared in their apps. Why do we have to be the one speaking to the third party? They are supposed to be the ones managing it," said Mr Pangerapan.

Tenor, a third-party provider of GIFs to WhatsApp, had been blocked, he said.