Facebook's Zuckerberg Promotes Greater Internet Access in Indonesia

Indonesia's President-elect Jokowi with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Indonesia's President-elect Jokowi with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. “Facebook as social media is able to link the people with leaders who turn to their people for inspiration. -Joko Widodo (Jokowi)”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is visiting Indonesia to campaign for wider Internet access in the country.

On his official page, Zuckerberg talked about his experience visiting the Buddhist temple Borobudur:

Mark Zuckerberg 

I just arrived in Indonesia and hiked up Borobudur to watch the sunrise. Tomorrow for Internet.org I'm looking forward to meeting with developers, operator partners and government leaders in Jakarta.

 Despite his star status, it seems not everyone knew who he is:

 Mark Zuckerberg enjoying the sunrise in Borobudur without VIP treatment


Zuckerberg also met the incoming president Joko Widodo (Jokowi):

Ir H Joko Widodo Hari ini saya gembira karena mendapat kesempatan ‘blusukan’ bersama Founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg ke Pasar Blok A Tanah Abang Jakarta Pusat.

I'm happy to get the chance to visit Blok A Market in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta with founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg was impressed to learn that Jokowi maximized social media tools to connect with voters and constituents:

This morning I met with President-elect Joko Widodo and we discussed the opportunities and challenges of connecting everyone in Indonesia.

He has an amazing perspective since he ran much of his presidential election campaign through Facebook and the internet in order to communicate directly with all 250 million Indonesians.

He also highlighted the unique leadership style of Jokowi called “blusukan”:

A hallmark of his style is “blusukan” or impromptu walkabouts to meet Indonesian citizens. After our meeting, I joined him on a walkabout to the Tanah Abang market. It was a wonderful way to connect with people directly. He recently launched an online “e-Blusukan” so that he can connect with all Indonesians online in a similar way across the archipelago.

Then he wrote about the value of the Internet to improve the lives of Indonesians:

I’ve had the opportunity to meet many people here and talk to them about how they’re using the internet. Many are already using the internet to build businesses, improve their communities and connect with the world. If we can connect everyone in Indonesia, these benefits will only continue to grow.

— at Tanah Abang.

Many are hoping that Zuckerberg's visit will encourage Indonesia's incoming government to fast-track the improvement of Internet connectivity in the country, and more importantly, promote greater Internet freedom.

There are high expectations that the Jokowi presidency may reverse some of the Internet regulations implemented by the incumbent government, especially those that undermine free speech in the country. For instance, while authorities extol the importance of the Internet, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics (Kemenkominfo) has launched the Trust+ program which obliges service providers to use DNS filtering systems in an effort to filter pornographic content from local networks. Technical and ad hoc testing indicate that the filters also capture perfectly legal, non-pornographic content such as sexual education and LGBT community websites. The government has also blocked video sharing site Vimeo, charging that it hosts pornography, despite the fact that the site explicitly forbids this in its terms of service.

This program was initiated by former Minsiter Tifatul Sembiring who is a member of the Prosperous Justice Party, an Islamist political party, inspired in part by previous leadership of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

Roughly 28 percent of indonesians now use the Internet, with the majority accessing the Web via smartphone. There are 69 million Facebook users in Indonesia and they are among the most active social media users in Southeast Asia. Despite Internet connectivity issues, Indonesia seeks to increase Internet literacy in the country by 50 percent in 2015.

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