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Indonesia Wants Messaging Apps to Remove LGBT Emoticons

Feb 11, 2016

Indonesia's government is extending its disapproval of same-sex relationships to a new front: instant messaging apps.

Authorities in Indonesia demanded that the app Line remove digital stickers depicting same-sex couples from the array of illustrated offerings on Thursday. Information and Communication Ministry spokesperson Ismail Cawidu said social media and messaging platforms operating should delete any of the detailed emoticons that support LGBT people from their apps in Indonesia to reflect the country's culture, the AP reports.

“Social media must respect the culture and local wisdom of the country where they have large numbers of users,” Ismail said. Line said they removed the stickers Tuesday, following criticism from users on Twitter and Facebook.

Homosexuality is legal, but not commonly accepted in Indonesia, where individuals and culture are more tolerant than official positions. Ismail added that the government would direct WhatsApp to remove the stickers in question as well.

Same-sex couple emojis have been in use for years in the U.S., and Apple added same-sex families to the slate of options months ago.


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