SOCIAL MEDIA IN INDONESIA
In May, Indonesian authorities imposed temporary restrictions on certain features of Whatsapp and Instagram, including photo and video sharing, after riots in Jakarta following the results of the recent election. The communications and information minister Rudiantara said the move was needed because these apps induced the spread of fake media that could trigger an “emotional response” in people. Eight people were reported dead and hundreds were injured in the riots.
The bans were lifted after a few days, but these incidents prove the power of social media and their communicative tools in a market in which people spend, on average, three hours and 26 minutes browsing on social platforms every day. This is more than the global average and means Indonesia ranks fourth in the world in terms of longest social browsing periods, according to data by Hootsuite and We Are Social.
The platforms’ popularity is reflected in the Indonesia data from the Asia’s Top 1000 Brands list. WhatsApp rose 52 places to 555th position in 2019 but the highest ranked networking brand this year is Facebook, also the number one social site in 11 other Asia-Pacific markets. It has 130 million account holders in Indonesia, a sixth of the total number in the world.
The number of monthly active users has flattened out recently after a strong period of growth, however, and Facebook climbed just one spot in 2019 to become Indonesia’s 47th favourite brand. Politics have encroached on its strategy more than once; in March, in the run-up to the elections, the company issued a temporary ban on electoral ads purchased from outside Indonesia as a measure to try to safeguard election integrity.
Instagram, meanwhile, Indonesia's second-favourite social networking site, shot up 29 places to find itself hot on Facebook’s heels in 54th position of the consumers' favourites list. Indonesia is the platform’s biggest market in Asia and the country is the world’s biggest producer of Instagram Stories, creating twice as much content as the global average, according to data shared by the company.
While Indonesia was once the biggest market in the world for Twitter, however, thanks to cheap mobile phones and a strong local sense of community, the company now seems to have surpassed its heyday. Whether a direct result of Facebook and Instagram’s growth or a sign that Indonesia’s young population wants something different, Twitter fell 67 places in Nielsen’s Indonesia ranking in 2019, to 256th position. It remains the third most popular social networking site, however, ahead of both Google Plus (398) and LinkedIn (452).
A newcomer to watch is Telegram, which jumped up from 985th position last year to 481st position in 2019 and is already the seventh most popular social networking site in-market. After a few teething problems (Indonesian authorities moved to block Telegram in 2017 over its policing of negative content, but lifted the ban in August of that year) the platform seems now to be gaining ground in Indonesia.