Tik Tok banned in Indonesia, vows to comply with local rules and regulations

Tik Tok, a Chinese video app popular with the youth, has been banned in Indonesia, according to government authorities. This was for containing inappropriate content including pornography and blasphemy, a Reuters report read.

The move comes after Indonesia’s communications ministry said it was banning the platform effective Tuesday. However, communications minister Rudiantara said that the ban is temporary and will be lifted after Tik Tok can guarantee the non-dissemination of inappropriate content, Reuters added.

Following the move, Tik Tok and the communications ministry said in a joint press conference that it would consider raising the age limit for users to 16 years old. To bolster content moderation efforts, the company will also employ 200 more moderators, up from the team of 20 it currently has.

“We are trying to comply with the local rules and regulations, and also address concerns about minors and protection in each local and regional country. It is important that we comply and respect Indonesia cultures and address the concerns,” a spokesperson for Tik Tok explained.

Plans are also underway to make the platform more child-friendly, the spokesperson said. This includes working with NGOs to create education content that is customised and tailored for children, done in close collaboration with the government.

“I wish that this is just the beginning of a formal relationship with the government, with all the local important stakeholders, we hope to do more in Indonesia with creators, with the government, with NGOs to do more for women, for children, to inspire better high quality content,” a spokesperson for Tik Tok said.

She added that Tiko Tok would also like to encourage, promote and incentivise creators to create high quality content. I think its very important to have high quality content and we hope to build up high quality content ecosystem so we do not encourage minors to create content, that is our firm stance,” the spokesperson added.

The platform currently has more than 10 million active monthly users in Indonesia. It first entered Indonesia in September last year following the expansion of parent company ByteDance into the nation. Globally, the platform has around 100 million active monthly users. During its launch, the company expressed interest to cultivate more content creators in Indonesia.

In November, Bytedance merged with global content platform Musical.ly, which continues to operate as an independent platform. This is in a bid to integrate Bytedance's AI technology and leverage its reach in China and key markets across Asia to enhance Musical.ly's offering to users, creators, and partners.

This is not the first time a media platform has gotten into hot water in Indonesia for inappropriate content. Just in March, Indonesia’s communications ministry blocked access to Tumblr, a popular microblogging site, for pornographic content, said multiple reports. The move followed complaints of alleged indecent content.

The ministry informed Tumblr to remove the immoral content from its platform within 48 hours but did not receive a response, leading the former to block eight of Tumblr’s Domain Name Servers. The ministry also tweeted that it received reports regarding “immoral content” and added that Tumblr lacks the tools to report immoral content.

WhatsApp also came under fire last year from the ministry for indecent content found on its GIF function. However, the threat was dropped after the company complied with its demands, Reuters reported.