The Indonesian government has restricted the use of WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram alleging the spread of false news and misinformation regarding a massive protest in the city of Jakarta.
“According to an Indonesian minister, the government is controlling access to social networks and deactivating some functions.”
The presidential elections on Tuesday generated great political tension in Indonesia. Prabowo Subianto, the defeated candidate, declared the results an electoral fraud and said he would denounce the situation before the Constitutional Court.
This political tension has resulted in a series of protests in the Indonesian capital, causing the death of 6 people and up to 200 wounded.
In response to this, the government has decided to limit the operation of social networks claiming that these were being used to spread false information about the motivation of the protests.
Wiranto, one of the top government officials, announced at a press conference that the government is controlling access to social networks and “deactivating some functions” to keep the population calm.
In this sense, users have reported problems sending multimedia files through WhatsApp, which is one of the most popular messaging app in the region.
In addition, users have also experienced problems publishing content on Facebook. For their part, the Indonesians have turned to Twitter to denounce this situation and, in addition, report the fall of Instagram in the country under the #InstagramDown.
Apparently, this delay in the publications and the sending of messages is reduced once users connect their mobile to a WiFi network or use the mobile network with a VPN, a virtual private network.
Facebook executives have responded to the situation by noting that “we are aware of the security problem that is occurring right now in Jakarta and we have taken care of the Indonesian government. We are committed to maintaining our services for those who depend on them to communicate with their loved ones and access important information »
However, this governmental control of social networks and, particularly of Facebook, is not unique in its kind. Already last month the government of Sri Lanka adopted a similar measure in the wake of a series of attacks.
The continual restrictions make it consider what should be the procedure of social networks in emergency situations that condition the security of the nation or, on the other hand, in the face of governmental abuses that alienate the population.