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Indonesian Communications Minister Threatens to Ban Facebook in the Country

Indonesian Communications Minister Rudiantara has threatened to shut down Facebook Inc if there is any evidence the personal data of citizens is being harvested or the social media giant fails to crack down on “fake news” during upcoming elections.

Amid continuing fallout over revelations that the data of 50 million Facebook users was obtained by a firm that helped US President Donald Trump’s campaign, there are growing fears in Indonesia that its presidential race could be corrupted.

With the election set to kick off within months, Communications Minister Rudiantara has voiced concerns that individuals or organised groups could exploit social media platforms in a bid to influence the outcome.

“If I have to shut them down, then I will do it,” Mr Rudiantara said in an interview on Friday March 30 at his residence in Jakarta, noting Indonesia had earlier blocked the messaging app, Telegram.

“I did it. I have no hesitation to do it again.”

The warning extends beyond Facebook to other platforms, including Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, which owns YouTube, besides a host of other social media companies.

Mr Rudiantara’s warning comes amid a crackdown in Indonesia on the use of social media to publish fake news and hate speech. Both Malaysia and Singapore have also unveiled plans to tackle fake news last month.

Source: Straits Times

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