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Indonesia is blocking Elon Musk's X domain for its gambling and porn history

The block is an embarrassing (if temporary) issue with the Twitter rebrand.

SOPA Images via Getty Images

Elon Musk's rebranding of Twitter as X is... not going according to plan. Indonesia has temporarily blocked X.com due to the country's laws forbidding gambling and porn. Officials don't think the site is suddenly going downhill, though. Rather, it's that the web domain's previous owners broke the country's content laws. In other words, X didn't check to see if the the predecessors had done anything leading to national bans.

The impasse likely won't last long. Information director general Usman Kansong tells the press that X has already been in touch about the issue, and is sending a letter to indicate that Twitter is taking ownership of X.com. This is more a formality than a major legal hurdle.

Still, this is another indicator of just how unplanned the Twitter-to-X transition was. Meta, Microsoft and numerous other companies already own trademarks on X, opening the door to lawsuits. X may have trouble registering and protecting trademarks, too. The company has even had problems changing its signage — a crew pulling down the Twitter sign in San Francisco had to stop over permit issues, leaving the "er" and old bird logo intact.

Musk announced the sudden transition as part of a broader plan to turn Twitter into a "super app" like China's WeChat. In theory, you could use X for payments, messaging and other tasks that go well beyond social media. The service has also lately tried to steer users toward $8 per month Blue subscriptions by both offering perks (such as much longer posts) and limiting existing features.

The momentary Indonesia ban isn't a major roadblock. However, it still means that roughly 24 million users can't even try X.com at the moment. That may be welcome news for competitors that don't face similar restrictions, including Meta's recently launched Threads (already available in Indonesia).