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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

Indonesia threatens to ban X for formally allowing adult content

Indonesia is locked in a potential showdown with social media platform X after the platform announced it would formally allow adult content on its service. The move has sparked outrage from Indonesian authorities, who say it violates the country's strict laws against pornography.

The controversy began in early June when X, formerly known as Twitter, updated its policies to explicitly permit consensually produced adult content. This formalized a practice that already existed on the platform. However, Indonesia, along with other Southeast Asian nations, has strong regulations against the distribution of pornography.

Communications and Informatics Minister Budi Arie Setiadi responded swiftly, stating that X must comply with Indonesian laws or face sanctions, which could include a complete ban. "They have to abide by Indonesian laws and regulations," Setiadi said. "If they don't want to be sanctioned or blocked, they have to follow our rules."

Indonesia has a history of blocking websites and platforms deemed to violate its content regulations. Reddit, Steam, and PayPal are just a few examples of online services that have faced restrictions in the past.

Experts are divided on the effectiveness of an X ban. While some believe it would appease concerns, others argue it would be a futile attempt at censorship in the age of virtual private networks (VPNs) and other workarounds. Additionally, critics argue that a ban would hurt Indonesia's digital economy and stifle freedom of expression.

"Boosting internet safety education is a better way to combat porn on social media," said Hariz Baharudin, an internet security analyst. He suggests focusing on educating users about responsible online behavior rather than resorting to blanket bans.

X has yet to respond to the threats.


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