Google, Indonesia Agree to Monitor Offensive YouTube Content

Patrick George August 04, 2017
Google, Indonesia Agree to Monitor Offensive YouTube Content

Alphabet Inc.'s Google is working with Indonesia to step up monitoring YouTube video content which was deemed offensive, including material that might incite violence, terrorism or hate speech.

Indonesia and Alphabet Inc.’s Google agreed on Friday to step up monitoring of content on YouTube after the government said it was concerned about the growing misuse of social media platforms to spread material related to terrorism, racial violence, and pornography.

Google plans to implement its "Trusted Flagger" program in Indonesia over the next two to three months, Ann Lavin, Google's director of public policy and government affairs in Southeast Asia and Greater China, said.

The flagging system, to be used by the ministry and local non-government groups, will be limited to YouTube and will not apply to Google’s search engine.

“We want to ensure content doesn’t promote violence or incites divisions in the country,” Rudiantara, Communications and Information Technology Minister who like many Indonesian uses only one name, said after a meeting with Google executives.

Taj Meadows, Google’s head of policy communications for Asia Pacific, declined to comment.

A growing amount of content encouraging religious intolerance or radicalism is being shared in Indonesia, home to the world's largest Muslim population and some of the most avid users of social media such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Rudiantara separately discussed the issue of "negative" content with representatives from Google and Twitter Inc. on Friday, two days after he met Facebook officials.

Indonesia, a country of 260 million people, is a prolific user of social media. Last month, the government threatened to shut down the encrypted messaging app Telegram, used by several million Indonesians, if it didn’t develop procedures to block unlawful content, including from people linked to Islamic State.

The government promised to restore some of Telegram’s web-based services this week after company founder Pavel Durov promised to address Indonesia’s concerns.

While the move to curb content that incites hatred is positive, both the government and Google should be clear about the process, said Nawawi Bahrudin, executive director of the non-government body, Legal Aid Center for the Press.

"They should not just use their own yardsticks," Bahrudin said. "They have to be transparent and not just keep it among themselves."

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Patrick George


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