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Facebook opens new office in Indonesia

Social network company strengthens local presence amid rising scrutiny

Facebook's new office in Jakarta (Courtesy of Facebook)

JAKARTA -- Facebook on Monday said it opened a new office in Indonesia after agreeing with the government to strengthen its local operations.

The move comes as Indonesia steps up efforts to curb fake news, hate speeches and terrorism-related content from social media and messaging platforms. In July, the Communications and Information Ministry temporarily blocked the web version of messaging app Telegram as police said it had been used intensively by local militants to communicate and coordinate terror attacks.

Facebook said Indonesia is home to its fourth-largest user base with some 115 monthly million users. It has been partially blamed for misleading voters in the Jakarta governorship election earlier this year, which was a highly emotionally charged event that fueled religious tension in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

"Facebook Indonesia is proudly strengthening our local presence with a new office expansion to help empower Indonesians in building communities and making the world a lot closer," the company said in a Facebook post.

The new office is located in Capital Place, a new office tower adjacent with the Four Seasons Hotel in South Jakarta, according to local media reports. It is a bigger space than Facebook's old office in another part of the capital, opened in 2014.

Facebook, along with other internet companies like Google and Twitter, has also been criticized for underpaying taxes. Indonesia's tax office has said Facebook's local status as a representative office enables them to transfer profits from its advertising business to jurisdictions with a lower tax rate, such as Singapore. Facebook declined to comment on the issue.

Facebook also owns photo-sharing app Instagram, which has 45 million users in Indonesia.

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