Elon Musk’s Twitter rebrand ‘blocked’ in Indonesia over alleged links to porn sites

Indonesian government in contact with X to ‘clarify the nature of the site’

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Thursday 27 July 2023 07:49 BST

Twitter to X: Why Elon Musk rebranded the social networking platform

Billionaire Elon Musk's Twitter rebranded 'X' has been reportedly blocked in Indonesia because of the country's laws on online pornography and gambling.

Mr Musk announced on Sunday that Twitter has been rebranded to X as part of his plan to create an “everything app”.

The Tesla CEO, who took over the platform in October 2022, replaced the famous blue bird with the new logo on Monday after crowdsourcing ideas from users over the weekend. The domain X.com which he previously used for PayPal will redirect to Twitter.com, Mr Musk said.

Subsequently, millions of Indonesians were unable to access the social media platform, Al Jazeera reported.

Indonesia’s ministry of communication and informatics said the site was restricted as the domain was previously used by sites that did not adhere to the country’s laws against "negative" content.

The Indonesian government has been in contact with X to clarify the nature of the site, according to Usman Kansong, the director-general of information and public communication at the ministry.

“Earlier today, we spoke with representatives from Twitter and they will send a letter to us to say that X.com will be used by Twitter,” Mr Kansong said.

Twitter users trying to access the social media platform allegedly received a message on the screen saying that the website had been blocked by the ministry for violating local laws and regulations.

Gatria Priyandita, a cyber policy analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told Al Jazeera, that Indonesia tends to block websites that are considered to be “offensive, criminal, or dangerous to social harmony".

“These may include pornographic materials, sites that violate intellectual property laws, those that incite hate or are filled with false information.”

“Given that Twitter can be freely used in Indonesia, I doubt removing X.com from the list of banned sites would be a great challenge, so long as Twitter can demonstrate that the domain name truly does direct to Twitter."

Indonesia in 2022 threatened to block popular sites including Netflix, Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter if they did not make a submission to the ministry “detailing the content that appears on their platforms”.

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