Indonesia Says it Blocks Services on Blogging Site Tumblr over Pornography

By Reuters 7 March 2018

JAKARTA — Indonesia has blocked microblogging site Tumblr after complaints about pornographic content on hundreds of accounts, the communications ministry said on Tuesday.

The world’s most populous Muslim-majority country has stepped up efforts to police online content after a rise in hoax stories and hate speech, and because of anti-pornography laws pushed by Islamic parties.

The ministry sent an email to Tumblr on Feb. 28 asking it to “clean its platform” of pornographic content within two days, Noor Iza, a spokesman for the ministry, said in a text message.

It then blocked eight Tumblr domain names on Monday after he said it had not received a response.

Indonesia has tough anti-pornography laws and the ministry said it had received complaints about pornographic contents on more than 360 accounts.

Tumblr, which is part of Verizon’s Oath business, which also includes Yahoo and AOL, did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

According to the site’s community guidelines, any sexual or adult-oriented content should be flagged as “Not Suitable for Work” to warn users of the material.

Indonesia blocked more than 70,000 sites displaying “negative” content such as pornography or militant ideology in January with a system using 44 computer servers to help purge the internet of material deemed harmful, the communications minister said in an interview last month.

Authorities also threatened last year to block Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp Messenger, which is widely used in the country, unless graphics interchange format (GIF) images provided by third parties were removed.

Authorities had blocked access to some channels on encrypted messaging service Telegram last year, saying it had several forums that were “full of radical and terrorist propaganda.”