Indonesia ups purge of obscene online content

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JAKARTA Indonesia said yesterday it would summon representatives of messaging services and search engines, including Google, to demand that they remove obscene content, a day after threatening to shut down WhatsApp.

The Internet is partly censored in Indonesia but the steps mark an escalation against a backdrop of growing conservatism in the Muslim-majority nation.

"We will call all providers, including Google, to clean up their network," said Mr Semuel Pangerapan, a director general at Indonesia's Communication and Informatics Ministry.

The ministry vowed on Monday to block WhatsApp within 48 hours if the service did not ensure that obscene graphics interchange format (GIF) images were removed.

WhatsApp on Monday said it had asked the government to work with the third-party providers of the GIFs instead. Tenor, one of the third parties, said it had "already implemented a fix for the content issues".

WhatsApp users on iPhones could not access Tenor GIFs yesterday. Tenor "regularly" worked with "local entities to make sure its content reflects the cultural mores and legal requirements", a spokesman said in a statement. - REUTERS

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