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Musk’s Twitter rebranded as ‘X,’ blocked in Indonesia under porn laws

In a radical move, Elon Musk rebranded Twitter as “X,” but this led to the platform being blocked in Indonesia. The country’s strict laws on restricting pornography and gambling were cited as the reason for the block. The domain “X.com,” previously associated with content that violated Indonesia’s laws against “negative” material, raised concerns among authorities.

According to Al Jazeera, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics in Indonesia stated that they had contacted Musk’s company seeking clarification about the nature of the site. Usman Kansong, the ministry’s director-general of information and public communication, confirmed that Twitter representatives would send a letter, assuring that X.com would be used by Twitter.

As a result of this snafu, the reported 24 million Twitter users in Indonesia were unable to access the platform. Aribowo Sasmito, co-founder of fact-checking group MAFINDO, speculated that the block might have been triggered by the potentially negative connotations of the domain, which is not far from “XXX.”

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Internet users in Indonesia find themselves in a dilemma, as the government’s blocking rules clash with the desire for freedom, while also being connected to religious aspects, considering Indonesia’s status as the country with the largest Muslim population.

Indonesia has previously threatened to block popular websites such as Netflix, Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Twitter for failing to provide details of their content to the ministry by a set deadline. While these sites managed to avoid being blocked by submitting the required information, some companies have faced bans in the past. TikTok was briefly banned in 2018, and Telekomunikasi Indonesia, the country’s biggest telecommunications company, blocked Netflix from 2016 to 2020 due to concerns about inappropriate content, including pornography.

This Twitter hiccup in Indonesia is just the latest challenge Musk has faced since the rebranding to X. The San Francisco Police Department intervened on Monday when the removal of the old Twitter sign from the company’s headquarters was halted due to a report of a possible unpermitted street closure.

Critics have also questioned the wisdom of abandoning a well-known brand with international recognition in favor of the letter X, a character that seems to have fascinated Musk for decades. The specific logo used for the rebranding has been mocked for its striking resemblance to a generic Unicode character, although it has subtle differences.

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