Indonesia blocks Yahoo, PayPal for non-compliance

Indonesia blocks Yahoo, PayPal for non-compliance

Several gaming sites also offline as tougher rules for tech companies take effect

(Reuters File Photo)
(Reuters File Photo)

JAKARTA: Indonesia has blocked the search engine website Yahoo, the payments firm PayPal and several gaming websites due to failure to comply with licensing rules, an official said on Saturday, sparking a backlash on social media.

Registration is required under rules released in late November 2020 that give authorities broad powers. They can 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 up to the deadline, which had been extended until Friday, including the Google parent Alphabet, Meta Platforms’ Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, and Amazon.com.

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

PayPal, Yahoo’s parent private equity firm Apollo Global Management and the US game developer Valve Corporation, which runs Steam, Dota and Counter-Strike, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. EpicGames could not be reached for comment.

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 the online gaming industry and freelance workers who use PayPal.

Pangerapan said the government would find a solution for people to withdraw their deposits from PayPal, which may include reopening access to its website for a short period.

Authorities would unblock the websites if they comply with registration rules, he said, defending the measure as protection for Indonesian internet users.

With an estimated 191 million internet users and a young, social-media savvy population, the country of 270 million is a significant market for a host of tech platforms.


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