Indonesian comms ministry orders 'gay emoji' block

First they came for the local IM services, then they came for the world's

Indonesia has joined Russia with a crackdown on emoji that depict gay, lesbian, bisexual or transexual people.

The nations's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology says it's asked local instant messaging service LINE to remove emoji that depict same-sex couples holding hands because members of the public have been offended by them. That statement also says the Ministry is considering an effort to block similar content made available by other messaging services.

Motive for the move is explained in a seperate statement by the Ministry that warns of “the negative impact of the Internet on children, such as LGBT, Child trafficking, pornography, and online gaming addiction.”

LINE makes an instant messaging app called Emoji Keyboard by LINE that promises to “Liven up your conversation with the most fun and vibrant animated stickers that will turn any boring chat into an expressive wonderland.”

Some of those “stickers”, as Emoji are called in Indonesia, depict same-sex couples.

Indonesia's dominant religion is Islam and the nation is quite conservative, hence the offence.

The effort to ban emoji looks to be yet another example of governments taking utterly futile positions, a suggestion The Register makes because a glance at Unicode's official emoji library quickly turns up characters for same-sex couples, like the one below.

Men kissing emoji

Quite how Indonesia could turn its back on Unicode and its UTF-8 standard is anyone's guess.

The nation's attempt at a ban may therefore advance the case of the mooted Facepalm emoji, currently on the candidate emoji list.

Facepalm emoji


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