After WhatsApp threat, Indonesia steps up Internet obscenity purge

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JAKARTA, Nov 7 : Indonesia said on Tuesday it would summon representatives of messaging services and search engines, including Alphabet Inc’s Google, to demand they remove obscene content, a day after threatening to shut down WhatsApp Messenger.

The Internet is already partly censored in Indonesia, but the latest steps mark an escalation against a background of growing conservatism in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

“We will call all providers, including Google to clean up their network,” said Semuel Pangerapan, a director general at Indonesia’s communication and informatics ministry.

The ministry vowed on Monday to block Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp Messenger within 48 hours if the service did not ensure that obscene Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) images were removed.

“They have to follow the rules of the host,” Pangerapan said of WhatsApp Messenger, which is widely used in Indonesia – prolifically by some ministers and bureaucrats.