Indonesia: Social Media Restricted Following Riots

Protesters clash with Indonesian riot police after the official government election results were announced in Jakarta, Indonesia. Officials say six people have died and more than 200 were injured during mass rallies in central Jakarta.

Social media has been restricted in Indonesia following deadly riots. WhatsApp and Instagram are some of the social media apps that have been restricted in the country following the announcement of the election results, which have sparked riots in the capital and other areas.

Users in the country have reported difficulties on some of the most popular social media apps. One of them is WhatsApp, which is among the most popular messaging apps around the world. Users are also having problems making posts on Facebook.

The communications minister of Indonesia explained that users will experience lag on WhatsApp if they try to upload pictures or videos. Coconuts reports that a different government official confirmed during a press conference that the government is restricting access to maintain calm.

The report mentions that the official revealed that the decision had been made to limit the spread of fake news. The comments from the official ended with him confirming that certain features had been deactivated. Some of the protests have continued, according to reports just hours ago.

The companies of the social media apps reported to have limited access have not given details on the features that have been deactivated by the government. Facebook is one of the several social media companies that have not confirmed which features are currently offline. The company did confirm that it was in communication with the government.

Deadly riots broke out in the capital and other areas on Tuesday. At least six people lost their lives and another 200 were injured. The limited access began shortly after the riots broke out.

It is not the first time that Facebook and other social media sites see their access restricted by governments. In January, Zimbabwe blocked Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp during protests.

Local human rights groups said at the time that 12 people had lost their lives in the protests. They also accused security forces of using excessive force against the protesters, who took the streets after they learned that fuel prices had increased. The government accused the opposition of sparking the protests.

The increase caused anger among residents since it more than doubled. Reports said the increase made Zimbabwe’s fuel the most expensive in the world. Companies in charge of internet services said they were told to block access. It was later confirmed that access had been restored in some areas. Other reports revealed that the internet had returned but that social media sites remained limited or with no access at all.

The month before, the Democratic Republic of Congo was in the news after it was left without internet, which was shut down during an election. Officials did not reveal the results right away and the country was left without internet shortly after. Government officials later explained that the shut down was done to stop the spread of false results.

Last month, Sri Lanka shut down a large part of its internet. The decision was made following a series of attacks, which left more than 300 people dead. Officials revealed that the sites and apps were temporarily blocked to stop misinformation. It was confirmed that they would be reactivated following the investigation. It was the second time in recent years that the country blocked social media sites. The first one came after incidents against Muslim minority groups, according to The Verge.