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Jakarta Post

Govt to block suspicious online content in wake of terror attacks

  • Kharishar Kahfi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, May 16, 2018   /   11:58 am
Govt to block suspicious online content in wake of terror attacks Under investigation: Mobile Brigade (Brimob) personnel stand guard as the National Police's Densus 88 counterterrorism squad search the house of the person suspected to have carried out a suicide bombing at the Surabaya Police, in Tambak Medokan Ayu, Surabaya, East Java, on May 15. (Antara/Didik Suhartono)

The Communications and Information Ministry has intensified its effort to identify and block online content related to radicalism and terrorism in the wake of a series of terror attacks in Surabaya, East Java, and other regions.

“I have given the instruction to monitor the content of websites using a crawling method every two hours. Should we find suspicious content, we will block it right away,” Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara said after a meeting with representatives of social media platforms on Tuesday.

He further said the crawling was expected to yield results, even if there were few websites with radical content. The government is searching for content that is deemed provocative, promotes terrorism or exacerbates the current state of terror.

The ministry said that, as of Tuesday, it had blocked social media accounts for spreading terror-related content – most of which was posted on 450 Facebook and Instagram accounts.

“Some of them were previously identified but we had not yet blocked them because they were still subject to investigations conducted by the police or the BNPT [National Counterterrorism Agency],” Rudiantara said.

(Read also: [UPDATED] Surabaya church bombings: What we know so far)

Rudiantara further said the ministry would ask social media platforms to deactivate the accounts after the investigations.

Such a commitment was echoed by representatives of Facebook Indonesia who stated that the platform would follow up on any complaints from users and the ministry regarding negative content.

“We have no room for violence,” said Facebook Indonesia public policy head Ruben Hattari, who was present at the meeting. He, however, did not provide an exact time frame as to when the blocking would be conducted, saying the platform received many complaints every day.

The online measure will be supported by an artificial intelligence tool that will crawl websites based on keywords. Initially, the government used this tool to stop hoaxes and block pornographic content on the internet. (ebf)