The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has urged internet users to uninstall applications that allow them to access virtual private networks, or VPNs, which many downloaded to circumvent government restrictions on social media during the May 22 rally. (Photo courtesy of Freepik/vectorpouch)

Gov't Restores Full Access to Social Media Platforms; Netizens Urged to Stop Using VPNs

BY :TELLY NATHALIA

MAY 26, 2019

Jakarta. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced on Saturday that it had restored full functionality to social media platforms after throttling instant messaging service WhatsApp and restricting some features on Facebook and Instagram during last week's riots in Jakarta.

The ministry also urged internet users to uninstall applications that allow them to access virtual private networks, or VPNs, which many downloaded to circumvent the restrictions. It said some of these applications can allow hackers to gain access to users' private information or gain control of their devices.

The government deactivated some features on the popular social media platforms on May 22 over security concerns after they were used to spread disinformation aimed at sparking social unrest.

"The situation after the riots has been conducive [to lifting the restrictions], so the limitations on video and photo uploads on social media and instant messaging services have been removed," Communications Minister Rudiantara said in statement.

Supporters of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto staged a rally in front of the offices of the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) in Central Jakarta on May 21-22 to protest the result of the April 17 election, won by the incumbent, Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

Police said the rally turned violent after paid provocateurs infiltrated the crowd and started clashes with the security forces.

Members of the public were also provoked by false information, in the form of videos and photos spread through social media.

Rudiantara renewed a call on netizens to only use social media for positive activities.

"Let us fight fake news or slanderous and provocative content, such as what was spread during the riots," he said.

The ministry encouraged internet users to report any violent or provocative content found on social media to aduankonten.id, or on Twitter @aduankonten.

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