Indonesia blocks Yahoo, Paypal, gaming websites over licence breaches

JAKARTA (REUTERS) – Indonesia has blocked search engine website Yahoo, payments firm Paypal and several gaming websites for failing to comply with licensing rules, an official said on Saturday (July 30), sparking a backlash in social media.

Registration is required under rules released in late November 2020 and will give the authorities broad powers to compel platforms to disclose data of certain users and take down content deemed unlawful or that “disturbs public order” within four hours, if urgent, and 24 hours, if not.

Several tech companies had rushed to register in days leading to the deadline, which was extended until Friday (July 29), including Alphabet, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Amazon.com.

Mr Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, a senior official at Indonesia’s Communications Ministry, said in a text message websites that have been blocked include Yahoo, Paypal and gaming sites like Steam, Dota2, Counter-Strike and EpicGames.

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.

With an estimated 191 million Internet users and a young, social-media savvy population, Indonesia is a significant market for a host of tech platforms.