World’s Fourth Biggest Country Threatens To Shut Down Facebook

Left: Top Indonesian officials (Photo: ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images) Right: Mark Zuckerberg in Stanford, California (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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A top official in Indonesia is reportedly threatening to shut off the whole country from Facebook if he receives proof that citizen’s data is being collected for profit or the platform is not doing enough to suppress false news.

“If I have to shut them down, then I will do it,” Communications Minister Rudiantara said recently, according to Bloomberg. “I did it. I have no hesitation to do it again,” he continued, referencing his ceasing of operations for the cloud-based messaging app Telegram because it purportedly did not remove “radical” content fast enough.

Rudiantara is especially worried about the prospect of Facebook somehow corrupting the outcome of the upcoming presidential election in the country. And the ostensibly stern warning applies to others in the social media industry like Google, its subsidiary YouTube, and Twitter.

Facebook is currently dealing with an onslaught of criticism from the larger public in the U.S., as well as American lawmakers, with the possibility of some form of federal oversight growing by the day. Much of the concerns of Rudiantara and Indonesia are similar to those in America, like user data privacy and manipulation of its services and features. (RELATED: Facebook Has A Lot Of Openings For Washington Policy Folks After Spate Of Public Backlash)

Still, while enforcement of antitrust regulations — a restraining mechanism for the U.S. government seldom used — are conceivable, other countries are likely to take the lead in cracking down.

French President Emmanuel Macron recently said Americans and their government may soon “wake up” and determine “they are too big” not only “to fail, but too big to be governed.” Those comments reflect his own personal thoughts on big U.S. tech companies, potentially showing that he cares just as much, if not more, than his American counterparts about their collective and respective growing power.

But Indonesia shutting down the social media service used by billions of users a month would be a huge hit for Facebook and possibly a way more severe punishment than any regulations concocted by other governing bodies.

Indonesia is the fourth-most populous country in the whole world, just behind the U.S. and ahead of Brazil. It also reportedly has the fourth most Facebook users with roughly 130 million accounts, or 6 percent of the global base.

Facebook did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment in time of publication.

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