Indonesia’s government is asking Facebook and WhatsApp no longer permit users to use gay emojis.
Ismail Cawidu, spokesperson at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics said: “No social media may show items that smack of LGBT. Because we have our own rules, like religious values and norms, which they must respect.”
Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim majority, and same-sex relationships are not viewed favorably.
Ismail Hasani from the advocacy group, the SETARA Institute for Democracy and Peace in Indonesia, said: “It brings to the public the message that LGBT is something which must be opposed, and then the public, through various organizations, will enact such opposition. Public opinion in our country is predominantly anti-LGBT, but it is deplorable that the government follows this opinion.”
Fortunately, not all public figures support the ban on gay emojis. Chief Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan believes members of the LGBT community “are still Indonesian citizens and have rights to be protected.”
Unfortunately, Indonesia’s request comes a few days after they were successful in making Line, another messaging platform, remove all LGBT related stickers from their store. Ismail Cawidu commended Line stating that they “understand the norms, culture and religions in Indonesia.”
Hopefully, Facebook and WhatsApp won’t be as afraid as Line was to stand up to a bully!