Tech giant Google and microblogging site Twitter have agreed to help the Indonesian government to flag or ban content deemed inappropriate or against the law by providing special reporting channels, a minister said on Friday (04/08). (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

Google, Twitter Agree to Help Indonesian Government Fight Negative Content


AUGUST 04, 2017

Jakarta. Tech giant Google and microblogging site Twitter have agreed to support the Indonesian government's efforts to curb content deemed inappropriate or against the law by providing special reporting channels, a minister said on Friday (04/08).

Indonesia has been trying to impose stricter control on information distributed over the internet, arguing that the spread of radicalism and misinformation online pose the greatest threat to the country's security and unity.

"At the end of last month [July], Google and the Communications and Information Technology (ICT) Ministry agreed to run a [content reporting] system called Trusted Flagger," ICT Minister Rudiantara said in a press conference.

The system, which at the moment only works on Google's video hosting website YouTube, allows reports from the Indonesian government to get prioritized by YouTube's complaint-handling team.

The government expects Trusted Flagger to be running on other channels by October or November this year.

Ann Lavin, Google's Asia Pacific director, said Trusted Flagger is a new program that allows organizations or governments to notify Google about content that violates local guidelines or laws.

"This feature is available globally but not every country has it," she said. "But it can be [made available here]."

The program is currently only available in the United States and several European countries. Indonesia will be the first country in Southeast Asia to run this program.

Stricter Censor for Indonesian YouTube

YouTube has always allowed users to report content that violates its Community Guidelines. Videos containing nudity or sex, violent or graphic footage, hate speech, threats, spams, misleading metadata, scams and copyright infringements are frequently reported and banned on YouTube.

In the next three months, the government will be working with local NGOs including the Wahid Institute, ICT Watch and the Anti-Defamation Society of Indonesia (Mafindo) to customize the Trusted Flagger system for Indonesia. They will also work with YouTube to determine stricter guidelines for content considered unfit for publication in Indonesia.

Twitter Tags Along

Microblogging site Twitter has also agreed to support the government's drive to curb illegal and provocative content, Semuel Pangerapan, the ICT ministry's director general for applied informatics, said separately on the same day following a meeting with Kathleen Reen, Twitter's Asia Pacific public policy director.

Twitter already has its own content guidelines but they may not agree entirely with Indonesian laws or what the government wants. For example, Twitter does not forbid the defamation of state symbol. The microblogging site has now agreed to set up a special channel for the government to report content it deems inappropriate or illegal.

"We understand there are contents that breach Twitter's guidelines and there are others that breach only our laws. If the latter is the case, we will come up with a separate mechanism [to report it]," Semuel said.

Samuel added Twitter has also agreed to open a permanent office in Indonesia. He declined to comment further as the process is under the supervision of Indonesia's Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM).