SBY: be open-minded about Facebook and Twitter

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Tuesday urged South-East Asian countries to embrace social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter to promote people-to-people contact.
Yudhoyono said that unlike four decades ago, the frequency and depth of contacts between citizens through technology now far exceeded the formal contacts between government officials.
‘Indonesia, being the world’s second-largest Facebook nation and third-largest for Twitter, knows this very well,’ Yudhoyono said in a speech opening a meeting of foreign ministers from the Association of the South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
‘There is no government in the world that has all the answers to this new trend,’ he said. ‘ASEAN too must get into the act: We must be creative and open-minded in harnessing the power of technology to promote people-to-people contact.’
He said the establishment of an ASEAN blogger community was one innovative idea.
Facebook and Twitter have become popular in Indonesia thanks to the increasing affordability of mobile devices and internet plans.
Yudhoyono’s government has been at the receiving end of daily criticism on social media. Concerns over the power of Twitter and Facebook have prompted Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring to suggest stricter controls of the internet.
‘Don’t let uprisings, like what happened to Tunisia and Libya – who failed in controlling the social media like Facebook and Twitter – happen to us,’ Sembiring was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Globe newspaper last week.

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